Queen’s Award for Coventry Samaritans

Coventry & District Samaritans is celebrating after winning the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, in recognition of its outstanding work in the community.

The honour is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK, with the winners announced in June each year on the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.  Volunteers from the branch were invited to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace last month and will be presented with a certificate signed by the Queen and a crystal trophy later in the year.

Coventry Samaritans was set up in 1964 and is currently celebrating fifty years of supporting people in Coventry and Warwickshire. Branch Director, Roger Hughes, says the award acknowledges the contribution volunteers make round the clock, every single day of the year.

“We’re of course extremely pleased that our work has been recognised in this way.  Over the last fifty years we have answered more than 1.5 million calls for help and I’m very proud that we continue to provide all our services entirely with volunteers.  The award recognises their dedication and commitment”.

Samaritans’ Chair, Jenni McCartney, said the announcement of the award, also coinciding with Volunteers’ Week’, was a fitting tribute to the team.

“I’d like to congratulate Coventry and District Samaritans on this remarkable achievement. The people who use our services rely on the skills and generosity of ordinary people who give up their time to support others in their communities.  We are unparalleled in the role that volunteers like those in Coventry play to ensure that anyone who is struggling has a safe space to work through their problems, whoever they are and whatever life has done to them.”

The charity was nominated for the Queen’s Award by Coventry City Council, supported by the Earlsdon Festival and Rye Hill Prison near Rugby, where volunteers from the Coventry branch train prisoners to support other inmates who are going through difficult times.  Prisoners are six times more likely to take their own lives than an average person in the UK.

Laura Lowe, Head of Safer Custody at HMP Rye Hill, said, The work of Samaritans makes a significant contribution to offenders at the prison.   The approach from the team at Coventry Samaritans promotes and achieves positive working relationships with offenders, officers, managers and members of our Senior Management team.”

Across the UK, Samaritans answered more than 5.3 million calls for help in 2014. Volunteers are there round the clock, every single day of the year, providing a safe place for anyone struggling to cope.  Please call 08457 90 90 90 (UK) 116 123 (ROI), email jo@samaritans.org or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of the nearest branch.

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For further information, please contact Samaritans’ Press Office on 020 8394 8300 or email press@samaritans.org.

Notes to Editors

  • Coventry & District Samaritans is one of 201 Samaritans branches in the UK and Ireland.  It primarily serves Coventry, Bedworth, Nuneaton, Rugby, Kenilworth, Leamington Spa, Warwick and the surrounding areas. In 2014, its volunteers responded to nearly 38,000 calls for help. 
  • Coventry & District Samaritans has 123 volunteers ranging in age from 19 to over 80.  Ten of its members have been volunteers for more than 20 years and three have been volunteers for more than 40 years.
  • The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is given for outstanding achievement by groups of volunteers who regularly devote their time to helping others in the community and improving their quality of life.  Nominations are assessed by a regional committee before being passed to a national committee for final selection and recommendation to the Queen.  Details of the winners are announced annually on 2 June. For more information, please visit the Queens Award website
  • Representatives from the Coventry and District Branch of Samaritans were invited to a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on May 20 2015.
  • The formal presentation of the Queen’s Award to Coventry and District Samaritans is expected to take place in September 2015.
  • Volunteers’ Week is an annual event that takes place on 1-7 June 2015. It celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK. It’s run by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, NCVO, in partnership with Volunteer Development Scotland, Volunteer Now (Northern Ireland) and Wales Council for Voluntary Action. For more information about Volunteers’ Week, visit the Volunteers' Week website.