OURSIDE Youth Association, run by a group of volunteers based in Evesham have been awarded The King’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.
Ourside Youth Association is a charity dedicated to helping support young people in the community. Creating an inclusive environment where their voices are heard.
First established by a group of young people in 2004 who had nowhere to go and wanted to do something about it. They provide free support and engaging activities in a youth led environment.
They understand how important it is for teenagers and young adults to have a place to go where they can find support and talk to someone who empathises with them.
Ourside consistently provides mental health support, substance awareness, career support, art, sport, music and sport activities, free nutritious meals and cooking activities, online support over social media and a presence on the streets. The youth committee lead the decisions on any issue based or focussed services.
The King’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 Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee and, following his accession, His Majesty The King emphasised his desire to continue the Award.
Carly Elwell, founding member and chair said: “Receiving this award means so much to us in recognising the passion and dedication of everyone who makes Ourside so special and makes a difference to so many young people’s lives.”
Kirsty Hartwell, founding member and secretary said: ‘I am so honoured Ourside are receiving this award, what the young people get out of the support from Ourside and what they go on to achieve themselves is incredible. I hope I can be a part of Ourside for many years to come.’
Bev Wride, centre manager, added: “Receiving this award gives very special recognition and allows a very big totally deserved public thank you to all of our passionate, incredible and selfless volunteers who work tirelessly often behind the scenes driving the youth centre forward allowing us to provide such a vital space for young people,
“It comes at a time when youth work has never felt so challenging and so very much needed. It’s incredible!’
Representatives will receive the award crystal and certificate from Beatrice Grant, Lord-Lieutenant of Worcestershire later this summer.