Brighter Whitehead receives Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

The volunteers from Brighter Whitehead.
The volunteers from Brighter Whitehead.
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The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim has congratulated winners of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS).

Brighter Whitehead was among the 22 award-winners in the province.

GBNI executive office bearers [from left), Leslie Addis - Chaplain; Deborah McMahon - Chairperson, Alison Stevenson - President; Latifa McCullagh - Past President; Heather Sweet - Vice President; Doreen Chaplain - Past Chaplain.

GBNI executive office bearers [from left), Leslie Addis - Chaplain; Deborah McMahon - Chairperson, Alison Stevenson - President; Latifa McCullagh - Past President; Heather Sweet - Vice President; Doreen Chaplain - Past Chaplain.

The Girls’ Brigade Northern Ireland also received the accolade.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK.

Bill Pollock, Chairman of Brighter Whitehead, said: “Brighter Whitehead was established in 1995 and has grown from a group of six to over 30 volunteers.

“Our aim from the start was to contribute towards enhancing the town through environmental improvements in association with other community groups, businesses and statutory organisations.

Alison Stevenson, GBNI President (left) and Chairperson, Deborah McMahon.

Alison Stevenson, GBNI President (left) and Chairperson, Deborah McMahon.

“With a first year budget of only £450, we have come a long way and now have our own polytunnel, branded vehicle and support from local businesses and council.

“We are absolutely thrilled that we have been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2019. This award acknowledges each and every one of the Brighter Whitehead Volunteers, from 1995 to present day.

“Our volunteers are a dedicated bunch, meeting every week come rain or shine, and we are extremely proud that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll has bestowed upon this this honour, it will encourage us all to keep up the hard work.”

Mayor Ald. Maureen Morrow said: “I am delighted to congratulate Brighter Whitehead on being awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

“This award is a great tribute to the voluntary work of the Brighter Whitehead members.

“It truly is a wonderful acknowledgement of the hard work and dedication the volunteers put into the planting of flowers around the local area.

Your group’s contribution to the local community makes the town a brighter place to live, work, shop, visit and enjoy. I want to wish Brighter Whitehead all the best for the future as they continue to make their corner of Mid and East Antrim a brighter place.

“I also want to extend congratulations to the GB in Northern Ireland. I hope this award further provides these groups with the opportunity to reach out to more people by encouraging and inspiring others to care for the environment and invest in their local community.”

With 287 GB companies, totalling almost 22,000 members, Girls’ Brigade NI the largest uniformed organisation in the province.

Alison Stevenson, GBNI President and Deborah McMahon, GBNI Chairperson attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace on May 29, along with other recipients of this year’s award.

In a statement, Alison said: “It is wonderful that the work of the many volunteers within GBNI has been recognised in this special way.

“GBNI is blessed to have such committed and passionate volunteers and the award reflects their exceptional dedication to encourage girls to seek, serve and follow Christ.”

“Volunteering within Girls’ Brigade Northern Ireland allows me to give back to an organisation in which I gained so many skills and experiences as a young girl. We offer young girls a safe place to be each week with a varied programme, where they can be with friends, participate in physical activity, learn new skills and hear about Jesus, it is a real privilege to input into our youth in this way.”

Deborah added: “Volunteering within Girls’ Brigade Northern Ireland allows me to give back to an organisation in which I gained so many skills and experiences as a young girl.

“We offer young girls a safe place to be each week with a varied programme, where they can be with friends, participate in physical activity, learn new skills and hear about Jesus, it is a real privilege to input into our youth in this way.”