The Sussex Branch of the oldest charity supporting military families & veterans and a voluntary search dog team have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
SSAFA and ALSAR Search Dogs Sussex are among eight voluntary organisations in Sussex to receive the award. This honour was created by Her Majesty to mark the Golden Jubilee in 2002 and to recognise the outstanding contributions made to local communities by groups of volunteers. It is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent status as the MBE has for individuals.
This week is Volunteers’ Week – an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.
ALSAR Search Dogs Sussex was founded in 2003 following the disappearance of Sarah Payne. The team provides a 24-hour, 365-days-a-year, on-call service to the police providing nationally qualified search dogs, handlers and support personal. They are capable of deploying at any time of the day and night, in all weather conditions and terrain.
The team are called upon for help 25 to 30 times a year, commonly searching for people with mental health problems, dementia and learning disabilities. The team currently has 19 members who come from all walks of life and include an airline pilot and landscape gardener. They come together one day a week to train in a variety of rural locations across Sussex, with 10 dogs which include border collies, spaniels, a terrier and a number of cross breeds.
SSAFA support to anyone who is currently serving or has ever served in the Royal Navy, British Army or Royal Air Force. They offer practical and emotional support to military families and can assist with a whole range of issues, such as helping veterans to maintain mobility and independence at home.
Other local recipients are:
- A Band of Brothers – provide mentors to younger men who needed support
- Westerleigh Judokwa – a judo club in Battle
- Children with Cancer Fund in Polegate
- reMEmber – Supporting people with ME
- Bear-Patrol – a Brighton social group wwhich works to reduce isolation in the gay community
The Snak Shak Warehouse – a youth drop-in centre in Selsey
If you know any volunary groups in Crowoborough that deserve recognition in 2016 – you can read how to make a nomination here. The Town Council also makes Civic Awards to people or organisations that have make a significant contribution to the residentsof Crowborough.