The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

Girlguiding Greater Manchester West accept Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

Girlguiding Greater Manchester West County has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

We have been recognised for our work setting up and growing the Comfort Bag scheme. The schemehas supplied over 12,000 Comfort Bags, containing toiletries and other essentials, to hospitals across the North West.

The Comfort Bag scheme started when Pat Mayle met a Bereavement Specialist N urse at Salford Royal hospital who put together b ags for visitors who had to stay overnight unexpectedly. F unding for the group was limited and relied on donations from the hospital staff. Pat saw an opportunity for groups in Girlguiding G reater M anchester W est to help and from that “One small thought” the Comfort Bag s cheme has grown. The whole county got behind the initiative which has grown to include other areas in Girlguiding North West England . Now , many hospitals, hospices and refuges across the region are being supplied with Comfort Bags from Girlguiding members. Melanie McDougall, a Swan Care Bereavement and End of Life Lead Nurse, sp eaking about the impact of the Comfort Bag s cheme said, ‘W e can’t thank everyone enough, everything about the bags is amazing for people who otherwise would have nothing with them. Don’t ever doubt it, comfort bags make a difference”.

We are one of 281 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. Sue Lomas OBE DL from the Greater Manchester Lieutenancy said “The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award for voluntary organisations, ’The MBE for volunteer groups’. I am so pleased that our nomination for the comfort bag scheme, inaugurated by Pat Mayle and Girlguiding Greater Manchester West, was successful. It’s a great opportunity for girls and leaders to be involved in a scheme that is so appreciated by its recipients. Pat and her team have worked tirelessly to ensure that a little bit of comfort is available for people who are often in a very stressful situation. This award is very well deserved and I would like to add my congratulations to everyone involved.”

 Pat Mayle and Ros Scott represented GMW at a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May, along with other recipients of this year’s Award and ten of our members received the award from Warren Smith, Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchesterin August.

 County Commissioner Ann Healey says: ‘We’re absolutely thrilled to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. All our volunteers are amazing and work very hard for the girls and their communities. We are extremely proud of the Comfort Bag scheme. The staff at the hospitals tell us how much they mean to all that receive them and that means everything to us, to have helped so many people.’

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