A Royal Salute of Approval for a successful partnership

It’s with great delight that we can announce Huntingdonshire Community Group COVID-19 Response Team were the recipient of the Platinum Champions Award 2022.

Huntingdonshire Community Group was invited to attend the Platinum Jubilee Concert and the Jubilee Eden Project Big Lunch held at the Oval Cricket ground over the weekend. This was due to the wonderful work that the group did during COVID and continues to offer the communities of Huntingdonshire. Patrick Kadewere, the group’s founder and Kimberly Laverly, vice-chair, attended the Saturday celebrations and then the Big Lunch on Sunday.

Their journey started in 2020 when Hunts Forum worked with Huntingdonshire District Council to set up a network of Recognised Organisations to support local communities through the Covid-19 crisis.

As the epidemic developed, many Mutual Aid groups were created and ran into difficulties; this included having the trust of their community around them. Therefore, Hunts Forum developed the  COVID-19 Recognised Organisations accreditation that supported membership groups in the short term to gain the trust of other services and their community to deliver what was needed within that period.  The Recognised Organisations mark helped members open doors, bolstering their services and giving them access to a much broader platform, including much-needed funding streams and direct links to the right people. It was, however, only a short term measure.

The Royal Voluntary Service (which mobilises volunteers throughout Britain to support people in need and assists on the NHS frontline)  created the Platinum Champions Awards this year in honour of Her Majesty The Queen’s 70 years of service, to celebrate the remarkable contribution of all volunteers, who indeed are the backbone of our country

Patrick was selected from over 3000 nominations received from all around the UK, supporting various causes. Four hundred ninety volunteers were then hand-picked by a judging panel presided over by The Duchess of Cornwall.  Patrick was further shortlisted down to just seventy winners and celebrated as one of the most ‘Outstanding Volunteers’.

Patrick commented, “It was a huge honour to find out that I had won an award on behalf of our COVID-19 Response team, and it was a lovely surprise to have both HRH The Duke of Cambridge and HRH Prince Charles make an appearance to thank all the volunteers for their dedicated service during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year.  I was one of the lucky few who actually spoke to HRH, The Duchess of Cornwall, about what our group did during the pandemic and who supported us in achieving what we wanted.  I experienced that even HRH is keen to support volunteers.”

The legacy of COVID, ROs and our partnership continues to thrive and is now recognised by other national bodies and royals too!  So even when we are facing adverse situations, we can all find people to pull together and work side by side to achieve great things.

The Hunts Forum Good to Go: Good Governance Mark has now replaced the RO accreditation, and we hope moving forward this mark will allow more organisations to work in a similar way to what happened across sectors in COVID.