THE work of Thurrock Mind was honoured this week with the formal presentation of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
At a ceremony at the Community house in Grays, Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, Lord Lieutenant for Essex, presented the award to volunteers from the group. Also on hand to read the Queen’s citation honouring the group was Deputy Lieutenant, Mr Vincent Thompson.
Accepting the award were Leanne Horwill, Barry Spooner and Christine King.
The charity was founded in Thurrock in 1983, and since then have been developing and delivering high quality services with, and for, people with a mental health problem living in the borough.
David Noble, chairman of Thurrock Mind Board of Trustees, spoke of the honour bestowed on the organisation, but stressed it was all about the people – not just a charity.
He said: “This marks a significant day in the story of Thurrock Mind that started out as a small project.
“I believe that having awards and recognition is like having qualifications obtained before or when seeking a job. It can get you on the short list, but from then on the person counts.
“Likewise Thurrock Mind have been successful in achieving various standards of excellence that are recognised by funders and project commissioners as an essential prerequisite they first consider when awarding contracts.
“But the award is not for Thurrock Mind as such – that is the name of the charity.
“It is for the contribution of the many people that have been involved with the charity over the past 35 years.
“Without the support of past and present staff and hundreds of volunteers over the years, Thurrock Mind would not be regarded as it is today as a quality provider of mental health services to thousands of clients and service users in Thurrock.”
Mr Noble then went on to outline how the future may pan out for Thurrock mind, saying: “We have contemplated merging with other Minds locally but for various reasons this has not happened. We have co-operated with them on some overlap projects and engage in partnership working wit other organisations in the mental health services.
“We have done and will continue to respond to changes in project requirements, funding availability and the needs of the community.
“We have identified a local shortfall in suitable housing for people with certain needs and are in the process of converting a property into shared accommodation. This will increase our independence and provide a funding stream to support some of our other services.
“Expanding our services is a challenge but we continue to hold open door to those who are difficult to reach but need help.
“Finally let us enjoy this day and remember that the solid foundation of Thurrock Mind rests with the staff and volunteers, without whom we might just be another ordinary charity – not an extraordinary one.”