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June 2 2019

volunteers receive the queen’s award for voluntary service

Volunteers at Horatio’s Garden Salisbury, based in the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre of Salisbury District Hospital, have today been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is equivalent to a group MBE and is the highest award given to UK volunteer groups. 

As our Salisbury garden was the first to be opened back in 2012 many of the volunteers here have been involved since the very beginning, making the award even more poignant. They have seen the charity grow from a local project to a national organisation which is now planting hope for spinal injury patients across the United Kingdom. It is testament to their incredible dedication that they are still as committed today as they were then, a quality which is perfectly acknowledged by this honour. 

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was created in 2002 as part of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations to recognise the exceptional work volunteers do in their communities. The group will receive a certificate signed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as well as a domed glass crystal, both of which will be presented by the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire later this summer. Particularly excitingly, trustee Victoria Holton and volunteer Lesley Walford were also invited to attend a royal garden party at Buckingham Palace in May to mark the occasion! 

Horatio’s Garden aims to improve the lives of everyone affected by spinal injury by creating and nurturing beautiful garden sanctuaries in NHS spinal injury centres.  

Our volunteers are central to growing these thriving communities as they are entirely responsible for maintaining the garden, assisted only by the expertise of a Head Gardener. They also support patients in the charity’s weekly gentle garden and art therapy sessions, which help to improve patients’ mental and physical wellbeing. Most importantly though, our volunteers always offer patients and their loved ones time and kindness. 

A patient who was staying at the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre spoke for many when praising the charity’s volunteers recently, saying “They are all so kind and generous, giving all the patients a warm welcome and, when the need is there, a listening ear to bend.” 

The recognition of the volunteers’ achievements is particularly timely as it coincides with National Volunteers Week, which runs from 1st-7th June. The week is a National Council of Volunteers (NCVO) initiative, which is designed to thank volunteers and celebrate the fantastic contribution of millions of selfless people across the United Kingdom. 

As Horatio’s Garden continues to rapidly expand, it’s lovely to know that the charity’s core values continue to be upheld seven years after the our story began. With three gardens currently open in Salisbury, Scotland and Stoke Mandeville and a fourth on the way at the Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry, we are always on the lookout for new volunteers. Work is also due to begin on our fifth project at the London Spinal Cord Injury Centre in the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital at Stanmore in the new year, so we would be delighted to welcome new team members there too. 

To enquire about volunteering opportunities, please email info@horatiosgarden.org.uk. 

Horatio’s Garden are extremely proud of all their volunteers, all of whom will undoubtedly treasure this well-deserved award for many years to come. 

“When I retired, I looked to help in a voluntary organisation which supports others. I heard about Horatio’s Garden and have never looked back. It is so rewarding.” – Tim, a volunteer at Horatio’s Garden Salisbury 

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