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Cambridgeshire County Council care worker invited to prestigious Buckingham Palace garden party

03 March 2023

A care worker from Cambridgeshire has been invited to the King’s first garden party at Buckingham Palace.

Joe Gilbert, lead officer for care leavers at Cambridgeshire County Council, is one of several local government workers who have been nominated by colleagues for going ‘above and beyond’ in their roles.

Joe was ‘amazed’ to see his invitation in his inbox and admitted he didn’t think it was real or that he’d read it wrong.

He said: “I wasn’t aware of people being nominated for this previously, so I read it through a few times to make sure it was genuine. I then had to take it to my wife to ask her to confirm I wasn’t going mad!”

Describing his initial reaction, Joe said he felt ‘incredibly honoured’ to have been nominated to attend the King’s Garden Party in May. He will go with his wife.

The garden party will be the first hosted by King Charles. Set in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, Joe will enjoy a relaxed summer afternoon among other nominees, all of whom have made a positive impact on their community.

Day to day in his role Joe supports young people as they transition from care to independence. He also works on initiatives to improve support from organisations outside of the council.

Joe said: “Some people may believe that once our young people leave the care of the local authority at the age of 18 that is the end of our involvement, but we still support our young people after care, working with them on their aspirations, helping them with any challenges they might be facing and ensuring they get a fair start to adult life.”

Joe was extremely grateful for the nomination but is still unsure who nominated him.
He said: “I tried to investigate who it came from, but the process is confidential and I respect that. I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to whoever put my name forward. I really appreciate your recognition of my work and for you taking the time to put me forward for this. Thank you!”

Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council Cllr Stephen Ferguson said Joe was fully deserving of his nomination for the incredible work he has done in supporting care leavers.

He added: “It seems fitting that Joe will attend a royal garden party as both himself and King Charles have done so much to support young people, especially those from difficult backgrounds.

“This is a phenomenal accolade and I’m delighted Joe has been honoured in this way.”