Service charge

Electric umbrella among recipients of Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

A charity that uses the power of music to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities has received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The award given to Hertfordshire-based Electric Umbrella is the highest honor a charity can receive in the UK. Since its creation in 2013, the association has engaged more than 300 volunteers in its programs.

Electric Umbrella Managing Director Mel Boda said, “We are honored to have received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

“We are supported by so many incredible volunteers in a range of roles, both musical and non-musical, and this award recognizes their contribution.”

One of Electric Umbrella’s most famous supporters is musician Tony Hadley, who said: “I have seen firsthand the incredible work Electric Umbrella does for people with intellectual disabilities and the difference they do.

“This award, in the year of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, is very special and a testament to everyone involved at UE, the hard working staff, super members and of course the selfless volunteers.”

Electric Umbrella Celebrations at Micklefield Hall

Electric Umbrella, which recently opened a store – The Electric Umbrella Emporium in Hemel Hempstead – also offers The Big Yellow Choir, face-to-face sessions, choirs, school workshops and musical outings.

The association relies on 220 volunteer hours per week to run its programs.

Five other ‘wonderful’ Hertfordshire organizations have also received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

This includes the Watford Social Center for the Blind, which has been in existence for 70 years and provides voluntary support and assistance to visually impaired members of the community as well as activities to promote mental and physical well-being.

Watford Observer: Watford Social Center for the Blind taking part in a game of bowlsWatford social center for the blind taking part in a game of bowls

Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline, which provides a free confidential advice line for members of the public and professionals to discuss domestic abuse and provides a referral service to a range of other services, was also recognized.

There is also an honor for Service by Emergency Rider Volunteers – Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, which provides transport of blood, samples and other materials for the NHS on a voluntary basis, free of charge 24/7 , 365 days a year.

Recognition was also given to the Asian Women’s Association of Hertfordshire, which is an innovative program that aims to help, educate and encourage women from BAME backgrounds to gain confidence and break free from limiting societal and mental constraints.

An honor was also bestowed on the de Havilland Aircraft Museum Trust, which preserves and displays the history and memorabilia of the de Havilland aircraft for the nation by providing access to a museum near London Colney of historic aircraft.

Watford Observer: De Havilland Aviation Museum De Havilland Aviation Museum

Representatives of the six Hertfordshire groups will receive the award, crystal and certificate from Robert Voss CBE – Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire – later this summer.

Additionally, two volunteers from each group will be invited to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2023.

Mr. Voss said: “I am delighted that these six organizations have been honored with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is called the MBE for volunteers and it is the volunteers who have been recognized by Her Majesty in this way.

“There are so many wonderful voluntary organizations in Hertfordshire all doing excellent work and the recipients represent the crème de la crème of the voluntary sector in the county. If one positive thing has come out of the pandemic it is the community spirit and volunteerism and this is evident throughout Hertfordshire.

“My thanks to all the volunteers and voluntary organizations and special congratulations to the six honorees and I look forward to presenting your awards later in the year.”