Queen’s award for Lochaber support service

Lochaber Hope volunteer walk leaders, just part of the broad range of activities the service offers.

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Lochaber Hope volunteers have much to celebrate this week after scooping the highest award for their field in the UK.

Based in Fort William the non-profit organisation has been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS). An announcement that was fittingly made on the first day of National Volunteers Week.

Lochaber Hope is one of 241 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to
receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations remains high year
on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.

Lochaber Hope volunteer and director Judith James Davis.

Judith James-Davies, volunteer and director of Lochaber Hope, said: ‘I am thoroughly delighted that we have been awarded the QAVS.

‘Lochaber Hope Volunteers have contributed enormously to the wellbeing of the community and it is a privilege to work as a volunteer within peer support and creative writing groups. Well done everyone.’

Created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, the award recognises outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. Recipients are announced each year on June 2, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.

Award winners this year are diverse and include volunteer groups from across the UK.


Volunteer mentor Ksharma Willmington.

Volunteer mentor Ksharma Willmington said: Volunteering as a mentor for Lochaber Hope is personally rewarding and there is great satisfaction in helping people.

‘So for the volunteers to be recognised so highly for the work we do as a team is an incredible bonus.’

Formed in November 2005 Lochaber Hope answer the needs of local people
by providing confidential, person-centred support to the community. Over 40 volunteers provide a wide range of personal services including counselling,
mentoring, employability and peer group support.

Through their Social Enterprise, The Workshop, the team promote the ethos to create a positive and inspiring environment that enables people to safely explore their personal strengths, barriers and overcome obstacles to reach their full potential.

Alyson Smith, executive manager at Lochaber Hope

Alyson Smith, executive manager at Lochaber Hope added: ‘We are
absolutely delighted to have been awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Services in

‘This is so exciting for us to have our exceptional volunteers recognised in this way because it is the highest honour volunteers can receive and is equivalent to an

‘Thank you to our team, your passion and dedication for people in our
communities is incredibly valued. Thank you to QAVS for this truly treasured award.’

Representatives of Lochaber Hope will receive the award crystal and certificate from
Donald Cameron of Lochiel, Lord-Lieutenant of Inverness later this summer. Furthermore, two volunteers will attend a garden party at Holyrood House in July 2022 (depending on restrictions at the time), along with other recipients of this year’s award.