The all-volunteer team at the Friends of Chichester Hospitals is thrilled the charity has been chosen for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Volunteers are based in Chichester, as this is the dedicated charity for St Richard’s Hospital, but they also support mental health services in the Chichester area, serving patients from all over the western part of the county, including rural areas and towns like Midhurst, Petworth, Littlehampton, Bognor Regis and Emsworth.
Jane Ramage, chairman, said: “This is a tremendous honour and we are thrilled, as indeed we were in 2016 when Observer readers voted the Friends the best voluntary group or charity in its Community Awards – a huge honour from local people.
“Friends volunteers help so many people every day, often just by spending a few moments chatting with a patient or visitor. A smile and a few words can make a real difference to someone’s day.
“We are lucky to have such a super team of volunteers – the Queen’s Award is a tremendous accolade for their dedication to supporting the community using our local NHS hospitals.”
An all-volunteer group, the Friends provide the daily trolley service to patients on the hospital wards and a popular hospital shop, offering a wide selection of everyday items.
The shop profits are used to enhance or develop the hospital’s services to patients. Further income from fundraising events, donations and legacies enables the Friends to give significant financial support each year to provide vital medical equipment and amenities.
The Friends also support the Chichester Centre and mental health services at the Harold Kidd Unit by providing therapeutic and exercise equipment.
Representatives from the charity attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May, along with other recipients of this year’s award.
Jane said: “We are delighted that the work of Friends’ volunteers has been recognised by this prestigious award – the ultimate award for voluntary groups.
“It is a tremendous honour and we are proud of our team members and the work they do to serve others.
“Our volunteers give thousands of hours of time each year to support our hospitals, especially St Richard’s. It shows incredible commitment to a vital part of our community and really does make a difference each day for patients, visitors and staff.
“We are thrilled that their dedication and hard work has been acknowledged with the Queen’s Award.”
The Friends of Chichester Hospitals is one of 281 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year.
Representatives of the Friends of Chichester Hospitals will receive the award from Mrs Susan Pyper, Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex later this summer.