Royal recognition for volunteers who helped mental health during Covid
- 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.
The Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston, made the presentation to co-founder and trustee Peter Watkins.
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.
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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.
"A lot of the courses went online and they worked surprisingly well - things like creative writing and even our dance programme," Mr Watkins said.
"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.
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.