Sparkhll charity gets royal approval

Queen’s award for Birmingham voluntary group.

It has been announced in the London Gazette that the charity Narthex Sparkhill has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

The Narthex Sparkhill charity is based at St John’s Church in Sparkhill. During the last year over 100 volunteers have contributed almost 25,000 volunteering hours, supporting the 16 projects Narthex Sparkhill runs including Sparkhill Foodbank and its satellites .

Rev John Self and Mr Nigel Brookhouse, chair of the trustees and CEO of Narthex Sparkhill attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace on 24th May 2016 where they met the Queen and other winners of this year’s award.

Mr Brookhouse said: “It was an absolute privilege for us to represent Narthex at Her Majesties’ garden party, and it is also good for Sparkhill to be acknowledged at this level.”

Narthex Sparkhill is one of 193 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year, which is slightly higher than last year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to tackle community challenges.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities. The awards were created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and winners are announced each year on 2nd June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

Mr Simon Topman MBE DL Deputy Lieutenant, West Midlands said: “Narthex has a quite exceptional group of volunteers, admirably led and all working towards a vision that goes way beyond the provision of sanctuary, food and clothes. They are highly innovative, as demonstrated by their satellite food and clothes banks at the QE Hospital and in fire stations. They are changing the culture in Sparkhill and creating a community spirit to confound those who thought that such values were lost. After many years of assessing Queen’s Awards for voluntary service, I have never found an organisation who deserve it more or whose very existence ushers in profound change for the better in an area that so badly needs it”.

Mr Topman MBE DL Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Midlands will be presenting Narthex with their award later this summer. Rev John Self, Vicar of St John’s Church in Sparkhill and chair of trustees said: “This is a marvellous recognition of the support Narthex Sparkhill receives from the local community through the many who volunteer in the charity’s various projects and is a tribute to the dedication of a great staff team who are so supportive of St John’s.”