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The volunteers of the Cogges Heritage Trust based in Witney have just been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE.
Chair of Trustees Paul Evans explains: “The closure of Cogges Manor Farm in 2009 led to fears that this wonderful heritage asset would be lost to development. In 2011, a charitable Trust was set up with a Board of volunteer Trustees and supported by around 100 local volunteers. Within just two weeks of being allowed access, the historic farmstead was reopened to the public. Over the following years, volunteers have worked alongside a small staff team, and have been instrumental in building a first-class visitor experience that welcomes around 50,000 visitors per year. Our volunteers work in a variety of roles, ranging from visitor services, gardens, maintenance, animal care, specialist tours, crafts and conservation.”
Cogges Heritage Trust is one of 244 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. Their work, along with others from across the UK, reminds us of all the ways in which fantastic volunteers are contributing to their local communities and working to make life better for those around them.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteer groups from across the UK, including: a rural support group for farmers in Shropshire; a community magazine addressing isolation in the Western Isles; a running club engaging all ages in County Tyrone; a film academy and community hub based in South Wales, and a food bank in Greater London feeding vulnerable individuals and providing training opportunities.
Representatives of Cogges Heritage Trust will receive a crystal award with the QAVS insignia from Mrs Marjorie Glasgow BEM, Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire later this summer.
I am delighted and proud that our volunteers at Cogges Heritage Trust have been recognised with such a prestigious award. For Cogges to have been nominated and then to have been successful in receiving this award is a powerful testimonial to the hard work and commitment that our volunteers have demonstrated since day one in 2011. Melanie Marsh, Director of Cogge
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