Volunteer group honoured for 30 years of support with Queens Award for Voluntary Service
A group of local volunteers has been awarded the prestigious Queens Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of 30 years of support to people affected by motor neurone disease (MND). The award is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK. The North Wiltshire Group of the MND Association regularly raises funds to support people living with and affected by MND as well as providing emotional support, practical help, regular visits and information signposting to people living with the terminal illness, their families, friends and carers. In the last year alone over 50 families have benefited from the group’s work. Testimonials were given by several health and social care professionals including Anita Sinclair, clinical lead, neurology respiratory specialist with Wiltshire Health and Care.
She stated: “Their support and dedication to patients and clinicians has been outstanding and it is done with such dedication, integrity and compassion. This is a well-established group that proudly celebrates its 30th year next month which is a real achievement for a group purely run by volunteers.”
Dr Graham Lennox, a consultant neurologist in Swindon and Oxford, who also supported the nomination said: “I am delighted that the fantastic work of the local MND Association has been recognised in this way. They are exceptional in every respect. Together they provide regular visits for people with MND and their families, providing information, emotional support and practical help. All of this is of enormous day-to-day benefit to local patients, who often comment to me that they do not think that they could have coped with their illness without this support.” In honour of this award Alison Aviss, group leader, and Barbara Crook, group secretary, attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace on 21 May. Alison Aviss said: “It is such an honour to receive this award and on behalf of the group I feel immensely proud and humbled in equal measure. It is a privilege to work with families that are affected by MND and represent the Association in our area. Our team are an amazing group of people who share a passion to provide support, understanding and practical help wherever we can” The group is one of 89 MND Association branches and groups across the country which provide a vital service for people living with and affected by MND in the local area, anything from visiting people in their homes and organising support meetings to campaigning for better services and providing financial support grants. Their local council, Swindon Borough Council, as well as the Wiltshire County Council and the North East Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group also adopted the MND Charter which helps positively influence the lives of people living with MND and their carers in their community. The Group successfully led on the creation of a specialist physiotherapy post to provide a co-ordinated approach to complex care needs after supporting someone through repeated delays in accessing essential equipment. Following positive patient feedback, the post has been made permanent and is now fully funded by the NHS.
Chris Wade, MND Association’s Director of Engagement said: “We are all extremely proud of the North Wiltshire Group and the recognition they have received for the vital work they do in their local area. Having this support in the community means that those living with and affected by MND have somewhere they can go to for help and support, whether it be a more complex care need or just a chat over a cup of tea. Knowing someone is there to listen makes a huge difference to people’s quality of life.”