The award is a fitting way to mark our 20th anniversary celebrations in 2015. Over the last 20 years the Booth Centre has welcomed over 10,000 people who were homeless or threatened with homelessness and has helped over 2,000 people to move off the streets and find new homes. The Centre has also increased the skills and confidence of over 3,000 people through our Activities Programme, enabling people to gain over 700 nationally recognised qualifications and supporting over 400 people to get back into employment. This is all in addition to serving more than 550,000 free hot meals and over 3 million hot drinks.
The Booth Centre has only been able to achieve this with the support of its volunteers. Over 500 people have volunteered at the Centre over the last 20 years and many of these people have experienced homelessness themselves and have wanted to give something back after the help they received themselves.
Lawrence McGill the Booth Centre’s gardening volunteer and Amanda Croome the CEO attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace on 20th May where they met the Queen and other winners of this year’s award. Lawrence picked up tips for the garden back at the Booth Centre, which he has created along with other volunteers who use the Centre.
The Booth Centre 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.
The Booth Centre will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of Manchester later this summer.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Committee Chair, former broadcast journalist Martyn Lewis CBE said:
“I warmly congratulate all of the inspirational voluntary groups who have been rewarded for their community work with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The judging panel for this year’s awards were struck by the quality and breadth of all the successful groups. The thousands of volunteers who give up spare time to help others in their community and to help solve problems demonstrate the best of democracy in action.”
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.”
Amanda Croome, Booth Centre CEO, said:
“With increasing levels of homelessness, services like the Booth Centre are needed more than ever. We are very proud that our volunteers have been recognised for all the hard work that they’ve done over the last 20 years. We are always looking for more volunteers who have time during the day and would like to support homeless people in our community.”
See a list of all the deserving winners here.