It’s been a regal year for Richmount Rural Community Association, crowned this week with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
This is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK (sometimes described as the MBE for such groups) and well deserved by an organisation which has achieved so much in recent years.
Based three miles on the outskirts of Portadown, Richmount Rural Community Association is managed entirely by volunteers and provides a wide range of services including: promotion of health and well-being, activities for older people and promoting good relations across all sections of the community.
It also facilitates artistic activity in the area, enhances the emvironment and seeks to preserve the rich heritage of the area.
Joe Garvey, Chairman of Richmount Rural community, said: “We are absolutely delighted and very honoured. It is a magnificent tribute to all the volunteers who have worked so hard to make the Association so successful in meeting the needs of our community. We trust that this award will be an incentive for more volunteers to join us to sustain and enhance our services to the community. We have won awards in the past but to receive a Queen’s Award is totally outstanding.”
The Northern Ireland Representative for the Award, Walter Rader OBE said “This is a wonderful achievement for Richmount Rural Community Association as it recognises the dedication, commitment and skills of volunteers who every day of the week invest their time to help others.”
Later in the year the Lord Lieutenant will formally present the Community Association with the award at a special ceremony at the Palace, Armagh.
Some members of the Committee together with other recipients of his year’ Award recently attended a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace and at Castlecoole in Co Fermanagh.
Richmount Rural Community Association is no stranger to awards, since 2013 it has won at least one award and sometimes two in the Borough’s Council’s Community Awards. These include: Best small community group (2), Age Sector Award (older people) (2), Good Relations award (2) and Most Innovative Community Initiative. It was also a winner in the prestigious All Island Pride of Place Award for Reaching out to the Community.
It provides a great service for older people hosting the Richmount Elders every Thursday from 11am to 3.30pm with a wide variety of activities. .
The Association is leading a major heritage project with local schools and community.