St Albans computer charity receives ‘MBE for volunteers’ at Cathedral ceremony

The presentation of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service to Computer Friendly at St Albans Cathed

The presentation of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service to Computer Friendly at St Albans Cathedral. Deputy Lieutenant, Stuart Nagler; Deputy Lieutenant Penny Williams; Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Robert Voss, CBE; chair of trustees for Computer Friendly, Tony Bourke; Past Mayor of Harpenden, Rosemary Farmer; past chair of trustees for Computer Friendly, John Talbot. - Credit: Archant

A charity which offers advice and training to help adults become more digitally connected has received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

Staff from Computer Friendly received the accolade at St Albans Cathedral from the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Robert Voss CBE, on behalf of HM The Queen.

Rosemary Farmer, past Mayor of St Albans, who had originally nominated the charity, explained why she put them forward: “I was delighted to nominate Computer Friendly, recognising the invaluable service to our residents they provide, empowering people to use electronic forms of communication, social media and the internet. It plays an essential role in helping combat isolation, something that has become even more important during the current COVID-19 emergency.”

Deputy Lieutenant Stuart Nagler said: “I am delighted to be present to see Computer Friendly get a very well-deserved and highly prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. They excelled in meeting the criteria required - good governance, sustainability, big impact in their community and most important truly volunteer-led.”

Tony Bourke, chair of the trustees for Computer Friendly, added: “We are so grateful for all the support and congratulations from our clients and other organisations. We are delighted and immensely proud to receive the award, it is a tribute and a fantastic boost to all the volunteers, both past and present, who have dedicated their time and effort in helping people in the St Albans area.”

Last year, around 50 Computer Friendly unpaid volunteers gave over 10,000 hours of their time to provide advice on smartphones, tablets and laptops.

During the pandemic, they adapted their services to provide free digital devices and support for the most isolated and vulnerable people, teaming up with Good Things Foundation and BT, Herts Independent Living Service, Harpenden Trust, Age UK Herts, Redbourn Care Group and Margaret Wix Primary School.

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Winners of the award receive a certificate signed by the Queen and a domed glass crystal. Representatives of the charity will be invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2021.