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Dedicated volunteers presented with prestigious award

05 December 2022

Dedicated volunteers from a "life-enhancing" service were joined by special guests to celebrate the group being awarded a prestigious honour.

Earlier this year it was announced that Cambridgeshire County Council’s Library at Home Service, which provides reading and listening materials for people who cannot access their local library, had been granted The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The award is the highest honour a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE. It aims to recognise outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities.

A special presentation ceremony took place at March Library last week, which saw the group presented with an engraved crystal and certificate from Mrs Julie Spence OBE QPM, Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire. The event also gave many of the group’s volunteers a chance to meet up and share stories, as well enjoying tea and a specially made cake.

Cambridgeshire County Council Volunteer and Health Development Manager, Elizabeth Sheppard said: “We were delighted and very proud when our Library at Home volunteers were awarded this prestigious honour and wanted to do something to celebrate. It was fantastic to see so many of our volunteers and I would like to thank everyone who helped us organise such a lovely event.”

Cllr Tom Sanderson, chair of Communities, Social Mobility and Inclusion said: “Our library service is second to none and always puts residents right at the very heart of all we do. It is with immense pride that we have been so prestigiously acknowledged with this great award and personally, it was lovely to meet so many of the volunteers and hear about the positive work that they do.”

Mrs Julie Spence OBE QPM, Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire said: "Winning a Queens Award for Voluntary Service is a great accolade and I was honoured to present it to this wonderful group, which provides a life-enhancing service to many residents. It was fantastic to meet those who have made it possible through their exemplary voluntary service.”

The Library At Home volunteers select books/audiobooks thoughtfully chosen according to each reader's preference. These are then taken to the home visit where volunteers and readers have a friendly chat, talking about books and life in general.

Being a volunteer takes a special kind of person, someone who has a great ear for listening and can engage people well in conversation. The service is on the lookout for new recruits so they are hoping this award will encourage people to step forward to help.

One of the volunteers said: “I have had the privilege of getting to know some amazing people - from the gardener of a national celebrity to a retired diplomat and his wife and taking in a tractor driver and former WREN on the way.

“They have all welcomed me into their homes and happily passed on their book tastes and what people value at least as much as the books is the opportunity to have a chat with someone.”

If you are interested in volunteering, please read more here.

To watch a video of the presentation ceremony visit here