Queen’s Award for life changing charity

CAFE chairperson Ruth Harris and secretary Eileen Trotman attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace for receiving a Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. NNL-160706-121350001
CAFE chairperson Ruth Harris and secretary Eileen Trotman attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace for receiving a Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. NNL-160706-121350001

A charity which provides art and music sessions in care homes in south Northants and north Oxfordshire is to be recognised by the Queen.

Creative Activities for Elderly People (CAFE), in Brackley, has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which was created by the Queen in 2002 to mark her Golden Jubilee.

The award recognises excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community.

The main aim of CAFE, which formed in 2003, is to enhance the quality of life, increase self-confidence and improve the wellbeing of elderly people in care homes.

It became a registered charity in 2007 and now includes north Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire in its catchment area.

Chairperson, Ruth Harris, and secretary, Eileen Trotman, attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace last month where they saw the Queen, other members of the royal family and other winners of this year’s award.

Mrs Harris said the charity had been nominated for the past four years.

She said: “I’m not surprised but very pleased and also I feel validated for all our hard work that not only myself, but volunteers have put into doing art and music in care homes. It’s rewarding.”

She added: “We also have a new volunteer opportunity which is reading to people. A lot of people in care homes don’t come out of their rooms.

“We’d like to recruit volunteers to give up an hour a month to either read poetry or prose and form friendships with people who don’t get out.”

Last year CAFE organised 100 concerts in care homes with volunteer musicians.

CAFE is one of 193 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the award this year.

About her trip to Buckingham Palace, Mrs Harris said: “It was wonderful. We were so close to a lot of the royals – the Queen, the Duke and Prince Charles – and the grounds were beautiful. We had a lovely tea with a good choice of dainty sandwiches and delicious little cakes.”

She added there were around 8,000 people at the party.

CAFE will receive the The Queen’s Award from David Laing, Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, in the autumn.

For further information, see CAFE’s website at www.cafecharity.org.uk.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service committee chair, former broadcast journalist Sir Martyn Lewis said: “I warmly congratulate all of the inspirational voluntary groups who have been rewarded for their community work with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The judging panel for this year’s awards were struck by the quality and breadth of all the successful groups.

“The thousands of volunteers who give up spare time to help others in their community and to help solve problems demonstrate the very best of democracy in action.”