Charity receives royal recognition for volunteer work

The award has been given to Small Acts of Kindness, a charity that aims to reduce the negative impact of loneliness.

The award, the highest a voluntary group can receive in the UK, has been given to Small Acts of Kindness, a charity that aims to reduce the negative impact of loneliness and isolation. - Credit: Small Acts of Kindness

A Herts-based charity has been honoured with The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service with special recognition for their work during Covid-19. 

The award, the highest a voluntary group can receive in the UK, has been given to Small Acts of Kindness, a charity that aims to reduce the negative impact of loneliness and isolation on the physical and mental wellbeing of older people, particularly those who have to make the difficult choice between heating and eating every winter.

The charity, which has 300 community volunteers, works with 90 organisations from the voluntary, corporate and statutory sectors to source and distribute practical gift bags and helpful information packs to elderly people throughout Hertfordshire. 

Since launching in 2015, it has helped more than 45,500 older people identified as being cold in their homes. Last year alone, the charity helped 3,000 elderly and vulnerable residents in St Albans.

Chief executive of Small Acts of Kindness Lynne Misner said: "We are absolutely thrilled and delighted that the hard work and dedication of our volunteers has been recognised with the highest award any charity can receive in the UK. Everything we do is led by our wonderful family of volunteers and this award recognises their efforts above all."

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen's Golden Jubilee.

Dame Judi Dench and Joanna Lumley OBE publicly backed the charity’s campaign in 2018 and 2019 to appeal to people who receive the Winter Fuel Payment and don’t need it, to donate it to Small Acts of Kindness so they can help thousands more elderly people in the county again this year.

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Dame Judi said: “It's so important to think of others who are less fortunate in our society, and this is a really simple  way of making a real difference to people's lives.”

Joanna Lumley said that donating the allowance could actually save lives. "It is a little shocking that we have many older people who are actually having to choose between food and heating, when there are thousands of people receiving this lump sum who don't need it,  and would much rather their payment benefitted someone who is struggling to keep warm this winter.

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