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Jun 29

Hebden Bridge Community Association given the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Town Hall director David Browning, Calderdale Council Zorah Zancudi & volunteers. Image Sara Robinson

Hebden Bridge Community Association (HBCA), the charity that owns and manages The Hebden Bridge Town Hall and a Locality member, has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK. HBCA were nominated for the award in recognition of its volunteer-led response to the devastating floods of Boxing Day 2015.

The community-owned Town Hall became the flood response hub for the town, deploying hundreds of volunteers in the clean-up effort, as well as providing free wifi, hot meals and drinks and housing a temporary food bank and cleaning supplies hub. It also drew on the expertise of its business community who created a database to match the skills of specialist volunteers to the people and places that needed them the most.

Graham Mynott, Executive Director of The Town Hall says:

“Open day and night for the first 48 hours after the floods, and then for many days thereafter, the HBCA were able to operate as a flood relief centre only thanks to the help of hundreds of dedicated volunteers and generous donations of food, cleaning supplies and specialist equipment as well as support from Calderdale Council staff.

“We are so thrilled that the unstinting work of these volunteers has been recognised and we are honoured to accept this award on behalf of the whole community who pulled together in the most extraordinary way.”

HBCA are an outstanding example of a community organisation who pulled together in a time of crisis to help their local community. Sophie Michelena, a Development Manager for Locality based in Leeds, highlights the importance of organisations like HBCA:

“Hebden Bridge Community Association are a shining example of a locally-owned and led community anchor organisation which has embraced community asset ownership and community enterprise approaches to sustaining their ongoing regeneration work in Hebden Bridge.

They showed the power of acting as a catalyst for social action when Hebden Bridge Town Hall became an emergency hub for volunteers, affected businesses and residents alike during the 2015 floods. Their voluntary work has been praised by Calderdale Council and now recognised nationally. They are continuously sharing their ideas and best practice with other organisations and partners, and yet remain humble and focused on their work in the community.”

The award comes just ahead of The Town Hall’s Fifth Birthday Celebrations on Saturday 24 June, which will mark five years of operation as a community-owned building, complete with a contemporary extension housing community spaces, a cafe and small businesses.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was created by The Queen in 2002 to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee, recognising excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community. It is the MBE for volunteer groups. Winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

You can read the full list of organisations that have received the award in 2017 in this edition of The London Gazette.

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