A GROUP of dedicated volunteers has been recognised for its work with a prestigious national award.

Assist Teignbridge, based in Dawlish, has been awarded the The King’s Award for Voluntary Service - the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and equivalent to an MBE.  

The volunteer centre provides information and advice and, through the recruitment and training of volunteers, a range of free support services to older people at risk of a deterioration in health and wellbeing.

Assist Teignbridge Manager, Shirley Fewings, MBE, said: ‘To say I am thrilled and delighted that our volunteer centre’s work has been recognised is an understatement.

‘I know how committed the volunteers are and how much time they donate to support those in need.

‘To have their hard work recognised in this way is wonderful.’

Volunteer Co-ordinator, Chrisi Marshall, said she was ‘lost for words for once’.

But she did manage to say it was an ‘amazing honour’.

The charity offers a wide range of support including

befriending, emergency shopping and dog walking and benefit checks.

The volunteers may have a specific initial goal for clients but there are often more additional benefits.

Visits to someone in their own home enables the volunteer to see the wider picture, and identify problems before they escalate and a crisis occurs.

Feedback from service users has been overwhelmingly positive and its users say they were glad to know someone is ‘keeping an eye’ on them and who they can talk to about issues that may be causing concern.

Assist Teignbridge is one of 262 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year.

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.

Recipients are announced annually on November 14, The King’s Birthday.

Representatives of Assist Teignbridge will receive the award crystal and certificate from David Fursdon, Lord-Lieutenant of Devon.

And two volunteers from Assist Teignbridge will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May and June 2024, along with other recipients of this year’s award.