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Maghera Cross Community Link receives the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS)

Published on:  03 Jun 2020

A project based in Maghera funded through the IFI’s Personal Youth Development programme has received a top accolade for work carried out within the local community.

Maghera Cross Community Link has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary service (QAVS), which is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities. Groups that provide a social, economic or environmental service to the local community can be nominated for the awards each year.

The group provides a place and space for children and young adults up to the age of 25 from both sides of an extremely divided community to come together and interact meaningfully in a safe neutral environment. It provides tutoring, counselling, confidence building and life and career skills development. The Link has, since its inception five years ago, worked with only a small number of volunteers and a few staff to provide social and personal development for disadvantaged children and young adults. 

Every week over 120 children and young people from both sides of the community attend The Link and many families are helped by the food bank. The work The Link does is unique and essential to the area and encourages youngsters to improve their life chances and sense of worth.

Ruth Watterson, Group Chairperson said, ''We are delighted to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for our work in the Maghera area. Cross community relations have always been a big part of what we do here at Maghera Cross Community Link. We work with everyone in our community to provide opportunities for all to achieve their full potential and participate in all aspects of life. We provide programmes for those of all ages.

“Our International Fund for Ireland funded Personal Youth Development Programme has been extremely successful, with 44 young people enrolling on the programme, 32 of these young people are now in further education or employment. We run afterschool programmes for children to gain new skills, these include baking, art, dance, drama and singing, we are thankful to Children in Need who fund these programmes. Mid Ulster District Council has been a huge help to our organisation, with support, as well as grant awards for running costs. This award is something we never thought we would receive; our trustees and all our volunteers are extremely delighted.''

IFI Chairman Paddy Harte adds: “This award demonstrates how projects can play a vital role within their communities, bringing people from different backgrounds together, building positivity and opportunity. At the moment, as we face great challenges beyond everyone’s control, it is heartening that the team in Maghera are working hard to continue to provide a support system encouraging young people to become engaged in shaping their own futures.”

The Lord Lieutenant, Mrs Alison Millar, commented in her citation for the Award: “The Maghera Cross Community Link is an exceptional example of a voluntary organization driving cross-community personal and social development, and promoting synergistic interaction, in one of Northern Ireland’s most divided towns and its surrounding area”

For further information about our funding programmes, or for information on how to apply for funding, please contact the person(s) or organisation(s) identifed at the end of the relevant programme summary in the areas of activity section.

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