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Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for Doncaster group

Mental health group receives the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK, equivalent to an MBE.

Members of PFG Doncaster in a room under a PFG sign
PFG Doncaster

PFG Doncaster, a peer-support mental health group, has just been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The group pioneers a radical form of peer support where people with mental health problems help others in a similar position.

They are showing that major changes can happen when ordinary people are enabled to help each other. With peer support, they have:

  • turned small grants turn into millions of pounds of activity

  • turned service users into active citizens with full and active lives

  • turned deprived areas into powerful communities

Kelly Hicks, founder of PFG Doncaster, said:

This is a great honour and we are so thankful to receive recognition from HRH Queen Elizabeth II in this very special Platinum Jubilee year. PFG Doncaster is a new kind of volunteering, because it brings together the whole community in mutual support and cooperation. It shows that the people who are often the recipients of charity can both volunteer and lead the way in transforming their own communities. We are all excited that this new form of grassroots volunteering is starting to be recognised and supported.

PFG Doncaster is one of 244 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. Their work highlights some of the ways citizens are contributing to their local communities and working to make life better for those around them.

Other winners of the award this year include volunteer groups from across the UK, including a rural support group for farmers in Shropshire; a community magazine addressing isolation in the Western Isles; a running club engaging all ages in County Tyrone; a film academy and community hub based in South Wales and a food bank in Greater London feeding vulnerable individuals and providing training opportunities.

Dr Simon Duffy, Director of Citizen Network Research said:

PFG Doncaster has hundreds of members who - in normal circumstances - would be the recipients of services, charity or volunteering by others. The group includes people who have been institutionalised, abused and have lived with severe mental distress. Its members often face ongoing disadvantage because of disability, poverty, prejudice or exclusion. However its members work together so that these factors do not shape their fate; instead people reshape their own lives by proving support to each other and to the wider community.

Representatives of PFG Doncaster will receive the award crystal and certificate from Professor Dame Hilary Chapman DBE, Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire later this summer. In addition, two members of PFG Doncaster will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2023, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

PFG Doncaster is also a member of the global cooperative Citizen Network and, together with organisations around the world, PFG Doncaster is sharing their experience and knowledge through a global peer support network.

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