Knutsford Hosts has received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK, equivalent to an MBE.
The innovative and hugely successful community volunteering scheme was founded by Sarah Flannery back in 2014.
Knutsford Hosts’ members operate town-wide as a ‘bank’ of community volunteers of all ages.
The group is comprised of some who never volunteered before, some who don’t want to commit to a particular charity or organisation, and some who simply want to do their bit for their town as and when they can.
Volunteers help out at local community events, with charities and organisations able to call upon the group for support from its membership.
More than 100 people have joined Knutsford Hosts and last year alone, the group contributed around 3,000 hours of volunteering time.
Sarah Flannery explained: “It’s a win-win.
“Organisations, events and good causes thrive with an extra – or several – pair of hands and the Knutsford Hosts members find it very rewarding to support them.”
She added: “Many people struggle to commit to a regular minimum number of hours but our flexible approach has really opened up community volunteering for many people”.
Sarah, along with Erica Goggins, attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace last week with other recipients of this year’s Queen’s Award.
Knutsford Hosts is one of 281 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to have received the prestigious award this year.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service recognises outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities.
It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Winners are announced each year on 2nd June – the anniversary of the Queen’s coronation.
The Knutsford Hosts will be presented with the award itself from Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs later in the summer.
“This award is an exceptional honour for the Hosts,” added Sarah, “I am so thrilled that the work of our group has been recognised.”
“It’s a fitting tribute to all the Hosts – they are so hardworking and generous with their time and fantastic ambassadors for Knutsford who really deserve this award.”
Other Knutsford groups to have received the award include: Knutsford and District Good Neighbours (2003), The Welcome (2013), Knutsford Heritage Centre (2018).
2003 – Knutsford and District Good Neighbours
2013 – @TheWelcomeKnuts
2018 – @Knutsheritcent1
2019 – Knutsford Hosts
— Knutsford Town Council (@KnutsfordTown) June 2, 2019