It was a great honour for our Chief Executive, Lynne Misner, to be presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, on behalf of Small Acts of Kindness, with special recognition for our work during the Covid-19 pandemic, by Robert Voss CBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire. It included an award crystal and certificate.

On Friday 16th July 2021, we were joined by guests including Dean Russell MP,  Richard Roberts Leader of Hertfordshire County Council,  Councillor Aga Dychton Watford Borough Council Deputy Mayor, Henry Holland-Hibbert and Sarah Beazley, former High Sheriffs of Hertfordshire, Katherine Holland-Hibbert Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, John Palmer Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire and the Small Acts of Kindness volunteer management team.

We were humbled to receive this award surrounded by those who have shown us so much support and kindness over the past 6 years. Unfortunately we were unable to celebrate and say thank you to our volunteer family due to COVID restrictions, but another event is planned for later in the year.

In welcoming guests to the presentation, Chris Hamill, volunteer Chair of Trustees, commented  ‘Every charity has its mission – ours was born out of a lightbulb moment that Lynne had – and it remains the same today - to reduce loneliness and isolation for older people by connecting communities with kindness. The problems that we seek to address continue in our communities, with no sign that the need for what we do will decline.  And so our doorstep deliveries of Warm in Winter gift bags and Boxes of Kindness will continue to be the main focus of fulfilling our mission as a charity.’

Robert Voss CBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, presented Lynne with the award and certificate as well giving out Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service pin badges for all of our volunteers. He commented that this was the first time he had been a volunteer for the charity receiving the award and, as such, we were delighted to see him and his wife Celia receive their badges as well!

On accepting the award, Lynne Misner gave heartfelt thanks to our volunteer family and management team as well as everyone involved in the nomination and application process of the award.  She said ‘If there is one positive legacy from this challenging year, it is my hope that the breathtaking and extremely moving acts of kindness carried out time and time again by volunteers like ours will continue and help communities connect and grow stronger.’

‘Six years ago, almost to the day, we officially launched Small Acts of Kindness having sourced and distributed 50 Warm in Winter bags in January 2015 to older people across Watford. By the end of this winter, we will have sourced and distributed nearly 60,000 gift bags. I am so proud to have been Small Acts of Kindness’s first volunteer! But, my goodness, how our family has grown - we now have more than 300 community volunteers and growing every day.’

Sharing afternoon tea in the glorious sunshine, we were able to reflect and celebrate our achievements, which have only been made possible by the hard work and dedication of our volunteers, partners and funders. Thank you to everyone who has played a part in our journey so far.

Credit Michael Lee Photography