Start in Salford recognised with Queen’s Award

5 Jun 2015

A voluntary group from Salford led by SSE Fellow Ben  Thomas who work in the community to provide a range of services that provide emotional wellbeing and recovery interventions through creative arts-based and horticultural activities to vulnerable individuals. The organisation has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

Start in Salford is an Arts & Wellbeing Charity, established twenty two years ago to deliver a range of mental health services which provide emotional wellbeing services to vulnerable individuals and family members in Salford. Their innovative range of creative arts/horticultural programmes build resilience and help to improve and enhance the quality of life, health, wellbeing and social integration of  disadvantaged people within the local community, in particular older people, military veterans and people who are, or maybe at risk of experiencing mental health issues or social exclusion.

Bernadette Conlon the Founder and CEO and Janet Stevens a long time volunteer from Start in Salford attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace on Thursday the 28th June where they met the Queen and other winners of this year’s award.

Start in Salford is one of 187 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of awards handed out to groups have increased by over 60% from 2014, due to an increase in high quality applications, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to tackle community challenges.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities. The awards were created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year range from Ablaze, a charity helping to raise academic achievement amongst disadvantaged young people in Bristol to a volunteer rescue boat service on Loch Lomond.

Start in Salford will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester later this summer.

Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, said:

“I would like to congratulate all groups who received this year’s Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, in recognition of their fantastic achievements. The hard work and commitment that goes into the work of these organisations is surpassed only by the passion and motivation of the individuals who volunteer. I hope these groups continue to inspire others to get involved and make a positive impact so that we can continue to build a bigger, stronger society.”

Start In Salford CEO, Bernadette Conlon said “ All of our staff, volunteers and members are absolutely thrilled to receive this award which recognises all the hard work that takes place daily to provide our services to vulnerable people in Salford. The award also helps us to recognise the very important contribution our volunteers and all volunteers make to support the delivery of services in the community. We shall use this prestigious award to help us to continue to raise awareness around the issues of mental ill health.