Nottingham’s longest serving charity for the LGBTQ+ community has received a prestigious award on behalf of His Majesty The King.
Notts LGBT+ Network has been announced as a winner of The King’s Award for Voluntary Service. Equivalent to an MBE, it is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK.
The Awards scheme 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.
Notts LGBT+ Network is run entirely by volunteers and has been supporting the LGBTQ+ community of Nottinghamshire since 1975, when it was known as the Nottingham Lesbian and Gay Switchboard. Over the last five decades, those volunteers have helped over 80,000 people and partnered with 100s of local businesses and organisations to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ related issues.
Mala Abel, Chair of Notts LGBT+ Network commented:
“This award is a real honour and is testament to the hard work and dedication of our amazing volunteers – not just those who are part of our Network today, but every single person who has volunteered with us since 1975.
“They have been there, particularly through some of the toughest times for our community, and continue to be of service today, offering a friendly ear, helping people find the support they need and creating a safe space for those looking for information and help relating to sexuality, gender identity, sexual health and emotional wellbeing.”
Trustee Tony Barker is one of the Network’s longest serving volunteers, joining in 1975. Commenting on the award, Tony said:
“The organisation started in the heady and hopeful days of the 1970s and has witnessed the tremendous challenges and changes for the LGBTQ+ community since that time.
“The King’s Award is a big thank you to all our past and current volunteers who have kept that hope alive.”
As well as operating a weeknight phone, text and online chat service, the Network compiles the county’s largest online resource hub of LGBTQ+ social groups, support services and events. It also delivers training sessions to businesses and organisations on a range of LGBTQ+ issues.
Representatives of Notts LGBT+ Network will receive the award and certificate from His Majesty The King’s representative Sir John Peace, Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire. In addition, two volunteers from the Network will also attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace next summer, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.
More information on The King’s Award for Voluntary Service and its recipients can be found at https://kavs.dcms.gov.uk/