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KWC Receive QAVS Crystal & Certificate from Lord Lieutenant

27 January 2017

KWC were awarded the ‘MBE’ for voluntary groups by Her Majesty the Queen on 2nd June 2017, in an announcment in the London Gazette.  This presitgious award, in recognistion of the 22 years of service to the community and the strong emphasis on volunteering and active citizenship, followed an intensive scrutiny of the organisation and the current volunteers by a local committee of the QAVS.  The committee interviewed the volunteers at length, exploring the extent of their work in the local community, the breadth of services they were involved with and the years of committment they had given in the support of others.  The recommendation was subsequently considered by the Cabinet Office in London with ultimate decision in Buckingham Palace.  The event, attended by Mr David Lindsay, Lord Lieutenant of County Down (the Queen’s representative in Northern Ireland), Deputy Lord Lieutenant John Witchell, was hosted by the Mayor of Ards North Down, Alderman Robert Adair during a civic reception in the Town Hall.  Margaret Weir, Chairperson and volunteer, spoke to outline the background of the group and how she and her family had been invovled in the centre.  She outlined the role of volunteers and how important they are to the success of the organisation and the support of local people.

Gina Murray, board member also spoke to highlight the importance of volunteering and how she has set up the Kilcooley Scout troup as a result of her training in the field of volunteering and mentoring. Gina spoke on how the organisation supports a volunteer led group of older women, and how together they lobby for services for local women.  

 Alderman Marion Smith MBE, who has supported KWC from its early days in 1995, paid tribute to past and present staff, Board members and students who have played a part in the success of the organisation and the valuable communtiy service the group provides.  Alderman Smith acknowledged the thousands of women and children who had been supported by the centre over the past two decades and the debt of gratitude from the Council for the families who have been supported in the Borough.

Mr Walter Radar, representative from the Queens Award for Voluntary Service committee congratulated the group on their achievement.  The Lord Lieutenant presented Margaret Weir with the Crystal and Gina Murray with the certificate signed by Her Majesty.  Both will be on proud display in the KWC office.  

Closing remarks were made by the Lord Lieutanant David Lindsay.  He highlighted the high competition for the award, however the panel felt that the Kilcooley application stood out amongst all the nominations and was the only successful nomination from County Down to be given the award.  This Worship the Lord Lieutenant recognised that KWC are the first to receive the award in the Borough, and the achievement of the committee in receiving the QAVS award was the hightest recognition available in the UK.

Margaret Weir, Chairperson accepted the beautiful crystal trophy on behalf of the organisation, and Mrs Gina Murray accepted the outstanding certificate signed by Her Majesty which will be proudly displayed in the centre.  Margaret Weir expressed her thanks to Mayor Robert Adair for hosting the event and the lunch provided by council.  The staff, volunteers, committee and students of KWC wish to thank Mr John Witchell, Clandeboye Estate for the many years of support he has given and for his nomination to the committee to recommend KWC for the award.