Wakefield District Sight Aid receives The King's Award for Voluntary Service

Written by Hayley

We are absolutely delighted to share that we have been awarded the highest accolade available to a voluntary sector organisation.

Wakefield District Sight Aid, a small charity operating across the Wakefield District has just been awarded The King’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE.

Wakefield District Sight Aid has been providing support to local people living with sight loss since 1869. It believes that blind and partially sighted people should have access to the same opportunities and quality of life as fully sighted people, and its services are focused on empowering and enabling people with a visual impairment to live the lives they want to live.

Luke Scholey, Chair of the Board of Trustees, who has been blind since birth himself, said, “I am so proud of how we have worked together to be recognised in this way for such a special award. The charity has had a direct, positive impact on my own life, and it is a great honour and privilege to be a volunteer myself, helping the charity to grow and adapt to the changing needs of the community we are here to serve.”

Wakefield District Sight Aid is one of 262 local charities, social enterprises, and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. Their work, along with others from across the UK, reminds us of all the ways fantastic volunteers are contributing to their local communities and working to make life better for those around them.

The King’s Award for Voluntary Service 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.

Recipients are announced annually on 14th November, The King’s Birthday. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse and include volunteer groups from across the UK, such as a social support network for disabled adults in Banffshire; a charity using a refurbished pool as a community hub in south Wales; volunteer doctors providing pre-hospital care across rural Cumbria and a village renewal organisation promoting sustainability, equality and social inclusion in County Antrim.

Representatives of Wakefield District Sight Aid will receive the award crystal and certificate from Ed Anderson CBE, HM Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, in due course. In addition, two volunteers from Wakefield District Sight Aid will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May and June 2024, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

Hayley Grocock, Chief Executive Officer of Wakefield District Sight Aid says: “Wakefield District Sight Aid has served the visually impaired community in Wakefield in one form or another for over 150 years. We support around 1,200 people a year, and only have three part-time staff, so we depend absolutely on volunteers who give so freely of their selves and their time to make our work possible. To have the service of these incredible people honoured in this way is testament to their generosity, kindness, and dedication. I am thrilled for them.”

Notes to editors:

1. Lord-Lieutenants represent the monarch in each of the UK’s ceremonial counties.

2. This year there are 262 recipients of The King’s Award Voluntary Service from across the UK and Channel Islands.

3. More information on the recipients and the Award can be found at https://kavs.dcms.gov.uk/

4. Full details on how to nominate are available at https://kavs.dcms.gov.uk/

5. Nominations for the 2025 awards will open on the 1st June 2024.