Gatis Community Space, run by a group of volunteers based in Whitmore Reans, Wolverhampton have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
Gatis Community Space is based in the heart of Whitmore Reans on what was previously an old adventure playground. The local community came together to keep the centre open and turn it into a community hub. The volunteer group Gatis Gardeners was established in late 2013 and officially took over the running of the site as Gatis Community Space in May 2015. They have since set up a legal company, Acts of Random Caring CIC (ARC CIC for short) and have created a vibrant community hub which includes a hall, community café, outdoor play space, community garden, volunteering opportunities and a range of different activities and events.
Representatives from Gatis Community Space attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May, along with other recipients of this year’s Award. One of the centres regular volunteers, Brenda Bulter, who attended the garden party said “what a fantastic and fabulous day we had and really a great honour”
Gatis Community Space is one of 281 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations and awards has increased year on year since the awards were introduced in 2002, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteers helping people overcome mental health problems through sport, volunteers using caravans as mobile cafe/information centres in geographically remote locations and another group mentoring children who have a parent in prison.
Representatives of ARC CIC will receive the award from John Crabtree OBE, Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands later this summer.
Gatis Community Space’s Project Lead, Maria Billington says:
“We are absolutely delighted that the hard work of the team in turning our centre into a truly community lead initiative has been recognised in this way. It is a great tribute and honour to all the hard work each and every person who has been a part of our journey has put in, our team are very proud. To mark the occasion we are holding our own Garden Party/Big Lunch in celebration on 8th June and look forward to many more years of supporting our community.”