Whilst the country celebrated the Queen’s 70 years of service, this week was also the 28th annual Volunteers’ Week. This was particularly fitting, as the Queen has always expressed her appreciation for the brilliant work volunteers do every day.
Through important initiatives and the drive to do something good, lives are changed. From the Girl Guides and Scouts enriching local children and young people’s lives, to Barnsley Samaritans helping those suffering times of acute crisis, the difference volunteers make is astounding.
However, in many places, charities are unfortunately often left to fill gaps where this Tory Government falls desperately short.
Whilst charitable organisations like Barnsley Independent Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support (BIADS) provide critical services to those experiencing dementia for the good of our community, this is just one example of where government provision does not go far enough, leaving charities to pick up the slack.
We should never discourage those who wish to do so from helping, but we should not be forced to lean on them so heavily because of the Tories’ failings.
Here in Barnsley, there has been some impressive charitable work. Meeting our fantastic volunteers is one of the best parts of being an MP, and I always enjoy taking these opportunities wherever possible.
Wombwell Dam Community Angling Club are an excellent example of Barnsley’s volunteering efforts. Not only have they renovated the local pond and surrounding area for community use, but Her Majesty the Queen has recognised the Club by awarding them the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This honour is equivalent to an MBE, and I am so proud of this success.
Continuing the showcase of our charitable spirit, Barnsley Main Heritage Group have also been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of their work to protect the remaining buildings of Barnsley Main Colliery. The varied year-round events they hold mean so much to our community, and their efforts to teach younger generations about Barnsley’s mining past are undoubtedly significant in keeping our history alive.
I extend my congratulations to both recipients of the award.
After a gruelling two years, it is more important now than ever that we recognise inspirational volunteers and charity workers. I have enjoyed hearing from volunteer groups here in Barnsley about projects they have been working on and am incredibly proud of how the community comes together, not only during Volunteers’ Week, but all year round.