Royal recognition for volunteers who helped mental health during Covid

The Queen's Award was presented to the Inside Out Community by Suffolk's Lord Lieutenant, Clare, Countess of Euston.

The Queen's Award was presented to the Inside Out Community by Suffolk's Lord Lieutenant, Clare, Countess of Euston. - Credit: Charlotte Bond/Archant

Dedicated volunteers who helped support mental health in and around Ipswich during Covid lockdown have received the Queen's Award.

The Inside Out Community charity, which also serves East Suffolk, runs a wide range of wellbeing artistic workshops for people with emotional and mental health needs.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK and is the equivalent of an MBE.

 Inside Out is one of five Suffolk charities to receive the royal honour this year.

The Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston, made the presentation to co-founder and trustee Peter Watkins.

Inside Out Community trustee Peter Watkins with Lord Lieutenant Clare, Countess of Euston

Inside Out Community founder and trustee Peter Watkins with the Queen's Award presented by Lord Lieutenant Clare, Countess of Euston - Credit: Charlotte Bond/Archant

Mr Watkins said: "It's very gratifying and we feel very honoured to receive this award.

"It means an awful lot really. We have been running as a charity since 2003 and I think this is recognition of the work we are now able to do in the community."

The presentation took place at Inside Out's new base at the Eastern Angles Centre in Gatacre Road.

The Queen's Award was presented to the Inside Out Community by Suffolk's Lord Lieutenant, Clare, Countess of Euston.

The Queen's Award was presented to the Inside Out Community by Suffolk's Lord Lieutenant, Clare, Countess of Euston. - Credit: Charlotte Bond/Archant

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Mr Watkins said Lady Clare had made "very generous comments" about the charity's support for mental wellbeing.

The volunteers will also be receiving special lapel pins, to recognise their hard work during Covid.

During lockdown last year, volunteers had to stop running their in-person courses - but were determined to keep on offering mental health support, which was needed more than ever.

Maggie Singleton and Jenness Proctor, volunteers with Inside Out Community, which has received a Queen's Award

Maggie Singleton and Jenness Proctor, volunteers with Inside Out Community, which has received a Queen's Award - Credit: Charlotte Bond/Archant

"A lot of the courses went online and they worked surprisingly well - things like creative writing and even our dance programme," Mr Watkins said.

Inside Out Community founder and trustee Peter Watkins with the Queen's Award

Inside Out Community founder and trustee Peter Watkins with the Queen's Award - Credit: Charlotte Bond/Archant

"Our volunteers made great efforts to stay connected to members, who in many cases would otherwise have been very isolated and cut off."

He said it had been lovely for members to be able to meet again following easing of restrictions.

The presentation of the Queen's Award to the Inside Out community

Claire Horsley and Roger Finbow, deputy lieutenants, with Peter Watkins, Inside Out Community founder, Lord Lieutenant Clare, Countess of Euston, Elizabeth Hughes, mayor of Ipswich, and High Sheriff of Suffolk, Edward Creasy - Credit: Charlotte Bond/Archant

Guests included deputy lieutenants Claire Horsley and Roger Finbow, the High Sheriff of Suffolk, Edward Creasy,  mayor of Ipswich Elizabeth Hughes and chief executive of Community Action Suffolk, Christine Abraham.

For more details on Inside Out Community, visit its website or search for @InsideOutCommunity  on Facebook.


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