Seventy-nine volunteering groups from across the UK are today announced as winners of this year's Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, recognising the outstanding contributions made to local communities by groups voluntarily devoting their time for the benefit of others. One of these is the West Alness Residents Association, the group who manage the West End Community Centre in Alness.
The prestigious National Honour, which is equivalent to the MBE, sets the national benchmark for excellence in volunteering, and the activities of those awarded have been judged of the highest standard.
The winners were selected from 379 groups nominated by members of the public who have been helped personally or witnessed the benefits of a group's work in their community. They will be presented with an exclusive crystal trophy marking their success at one of a number of special local ceremonies being given by the Queen's Lord Lieutenants.
Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector, congratulated the 2008 winners on their success, saying:
“It gives me great honour to pay tribute to all this year's recipients of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, who have made, and continue to make such a positive difference to many people's lives right across our society.
“Volunteering groups contribute hugely to their communities, often without praise for the incredible job they do, and it is important for all of us to recognise their work in helping others and hopefully gain inspiration from their achievements.”
selecting this project for the shortlist, the judges felt from the
that the refurbishment of three shop units to provide a much needed
facility had been a labour of love - and the project visit absolutely
this to be the case!
"This project is a shining example of how a determined, focussed community with few resources at their disposal can indeed achieve great things. The place provides a haven at the heart of the community, where everyone of all ages are welcome. The refurbishment process in itself was challenging for a lay committee, but their tenacity ensured that the project achieved completion, opening officially in July 2007. It was clear to the judges that the centre filled a physical and social void within the community and they were particularly impressed by the youth café where, even on a Saturday evening, volunteers open the hall to enable local young people to enjoy activities in a central place of safety, warmth and companionship."
combination of the physical refurbishment and the obvious strength of
community involvement led the judges to be delighted to award this
Highly Commended status in the Place category.
05/12/2007 WARA Chair, Jennifer MacLeod and Vice-chair, Nigel
Goulding with Helen Houston at the London award ceremony receiving the
"Runner-up" award in this national contest for the implementation of a
ground source heat pump system in the newly renovated West End
one-of-a-kind £43,000 energy saving project
sponsored by Scottish Hydro Electric was officially launched today
November) in a
The West Alness SAVE (Save And Value Energy) Project aims to help hundreds of households in the area reduce their electric bills by up to 5% and show them how they can use their electricity smarter. To celebrate the beginning of this year long project a community energy savings open day was held with all visitors to the event entered into a free prize draw for an energy efficient fridge/freezer.
The West Alness SAVE Project is a partnership between the West Alness, Firhill, Kirkside, Coulpark and Westford residents groups, the Alness Initiative and The Highland Council Housing & Property Service.
Carolyn Wilson, Chair of the Alness Initiative and Russell Ogg,
Electric, officially launched the project at the Westend Community
Wilson said the project would not only benefit Alness but the
groups in the
find out more about the project residents can call
Community Energy Advisor Brid McKibben
on 07920 437 526 or drop in to the Westend Community Centre, Firhill, Alness or see the WASP web site at www.westalnesssave.org.uk