Queen's Award for Rural Support group

A MID-ULSTER group was yesterday (Monday) awarded the prestigious Queen's Award at a special reception in the town!

Rural Support, which is based at Loughry College, received the Queen's Award for Voluntary Services in the Community.

Rural Support provides a listening ear and signposting service for farmers and families.

At a special reception held in the Glenavon House Hotel, Cookstown on Monday, Rural Support volunteers were officially presented with the Queen’s Award and citation by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Tyrone, Robert Scott. 

The special reception was attended by almost 90 individuals including volunteers, mentors, board members, staff, funders and sponsors. 

Also, in attendance were the Deputy Lord Lieutenants and Cllr Kerri Hughes, who is also a volunteer with Rural Support.

This prestigious award, the MBE for volunteer groups recognises the outstanding work carried out by volunteers in their local community. 

Deborah Gavin, Volunteer Coordinator with Rural Support told the Courier: “It is an incredible achievement for Rural Support’s volunteers to receive this award.  It recognises the commitment, expertise and support which our volunteers provide to farmers, farm families and farm businesses across the region. 

“This award is a great tribute and recognition of the exemplary work our volunteers carry out, which all staff and directors are so very proud of. 

“Rural Support could simply not continue its work without our volunteers, and we are extremely thankful to each and every volunteer who gives of their time, knowledge and expertise on a daily basis.” 

Rural Support currently has 30 volunteers, who come from across all of Northern Ireland.  All of its volunteers come from a rural and farming background and so understand the challenges and issues facing farmers and farm families.”

There are six staff – four full time and two part time – based at Rural Support's office at Loughry College. 

Deborah Gavin continued: “The support which our volunteers provide to our clients, can help alleviate some of the stress and worry experienced, as very often individuals can feel isolated and alone when dealing with the issues and concerns that they face.”

The Queen’s Volunteer Award was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.  In this current year 22 award groups joined a total of 137 groups across Northern Ireland since its inception 17 years ago.

“This is the highest form of civic recognition which can be granted to an organisation for the work of their volunteers.”

Walter Rader, the Northern Ireland representative of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, said.

For more information about Rural Support or volunteering with Rural Support please contact the freephone helpline on 0800 138 1678 (available Monday to Friday, 9am-9pm) or visit: www.ruralsupport.org.
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