Routes to Roots receives The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

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Routes to Roots, a homeless charity based in Poole run by a group of volunteers, have just been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

This is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE.

The Right Reverend Karen Gorham, Bishop of Sherborne and R2R’s Patron, said: “I am delighted that the whole team at Routes to Roots have been recognised in this way. The volunteers, trustees and supporters have all worked so hard not only to continue to care and provide for rough sleepers and the homeless in Poole through challenging times, but to increase provision through the recent purchase and refurbishment of the Genesis Centre. 

“The charity has come a long way in its 20 years in serving the needs of others and demonstrating Christ’s love for the lost, the lonely and the least.”

Routes to Roots have been helping the homeless and vulnerably housed in Poole for the past 20 years and now run the town’s first building solely dedicated to helping the homeless. The Genesis Centre, which opened in March 2022, is destined to become the hub for all support and help available locally from charities, churches and local authorities; ‘a one-stop place of change’.

The Genesis Centre is the realisation of a long-held dream for Routes to Roots and this would never have been possible without the dedication, kindness and hard work of their incredible group of volunteers.

Routes to Roots is one of 244 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. Their work, along with others from across the UK, reminds us of all the ways in which fantastic volunteers are contributing to their local communities and working to make life better for those around them.

Stephanie Buckley has volunteered for Routes to Root since it started, 20 years ago;

Through God’s calling, I became a volunteer with Routes to Roots Christian Homeless Charity, from its birth and joined an enthusiastic team to love and care for those in need. We meet with them in the midst of their difficulties and heartaches, and seek to give these men and women the best of care in food, clothing, housing, a listening ear and support, and often enjoy growing fellowship and times of joy.”  

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.

Representatives of Routes to Roots will receive the award crystal and certificate from Angus Campbell, Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset later this summer. In addition, two volunteers from Routes to Roots will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2023 (depending on restrictions at the time), along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

The Revd Pat Southgate, Founder Trustee of the Charity Routes to Roots, said;

“Who would have thought 20 years ago, that those first volunteers who reached out in faith to become the charity Routes to Roots would one day, along with all the many others who have joined us over the years, receive the Queens Award for Volunteers.

“I am immensely proud of all the dedicated volunteers who make Routes to Roots and I hope they are proud of themselves for all they have achieved over those last 20 years. I hope we never forget that this much-deserved award is not just for today but will be ours forever.”

As a charity Routes to Roots is solely dependent on fundraising and the generous donations of individuals and businesses. All money raised goes directly into providing support to those in Poole and enables the charity to provide food, shelter, access to health provision, training and other opportunities to help clients move back into the community.