Voluntary groups across the north and north-east are celebrating after being given the highest award possible from the Queen.
Groups from Orkney, the Western Isles, Ross-shire, Forres, Stonehaven and Aberdeen make up some of the 280 organisations from across the UK to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The awards recognise those who go above and beyond to benefit their local communities and were launched in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s golden jubilee.
In Aberdeen, Community Food Initiatives North East (Cfine) have been recognised for their work to curb food poverty.
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The charity supports 350 volunteers throughout a year, three of whom have volunteered at CFine for more than 11 years. Described as the “backbone” of the organisation, they give up free time to help make up food parcels, operate food banks and community food outlets, and carry out administration and warehousing work. Chief executive David Simmers said the team was “delighted” that the volunteers had received the “distinctive award” in tribute to their commitment.
Sport Aberdeen has also been honoured for its work on community-based programmes such as Active Schools, Active Lifestyles, supporting learn to swim programmes and improving the golf course at Hazlehead.
Chairman Colin Taylor said the news had been a “complete surprise” but praised the team of 150-strong volunteers and said: “Receiving the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is fantastic recognition for the volunteers that work with use and to the outstanding work they do for us in the local communities on a daily basis.”
Volunteers who run the Stonehaven Tolbooth Assocation have been celebrated for their efforts to bring the Tolbooth Museum back to life after it was closed by Aberdeenshire Council in 2011.
The attraction now brings in annual football of more than 24,000 visitors.
Chairwoman Cressida Coates said: “Our volunteers have worked tirelessly and dedicated many hours to creating an exciting attraction which is a magnet for tourists and locals alike.
“Without their dedication, it is doubtful whether the museum would exist, and we regard this award as a tribute to their hard work and commitment.”
Forres in Bloom are also celebrating after their tireless work designing and creating colourful award-winning displays in the town centre and Grant Park were recognised.
In the north, volunteers in Locheilnet who campaigned for better provision of community broadband services to the rural Lochaber area were honoured, alongside the Orkney Norway Friendship Association for its work to promote friendships and cultural and educational visits between Orkney and Norway.
Laide and Aultbea Community Woodland Group, who look after the area and promote education and conservation work, were also recognised as well members of the Ullapool Museum Trust who promote the heritage of Lochbroom.
In the Western Isles, members of the Ness Historical Society have been honoured for their work on the archive and museum and the community hub on Lewis.