Press release: Hebden Bridge Community Association receives Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for volunteer-led response to the 2015 floods

Hebden Bridge Community Association (HBCA), the charity that owns and manages The Town Hall on behalf of the community, has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK. HBCA were nominated for the award in recognition of its volunteer-led response to the devastating floods of Boxing Day 2015.

The community-owned Town Hall became the flood response hub for the town, deploying hundreds of volunteers in the clean-up effort, as well as providing free wifi, hot meals and drinks and housing a temporary food bank and cleaning supplies hub. It also drew on the expertise of its business community who created a database to match the skills of specialist volunteers to the people and places that needed them most.

Graham Mynott, Executive Director of The Town Hall says:

“Open day and night for the first 48 hours after the floods, and then for many days thereafter, we were able to operate as a flood relief centre only thanks to the help of hundreds of dedicated volunteers and generous donations of food, cleaning supplies and specialist equipment as well as support from Calderdale Council staff.

“We are so thrilled that the unstinting work of these volunteers has been recognised and we are honoured to accept this award on behalf of the whole community who pulled together in the most extraordinary way.”

Richard Needham, Interim Chair of Hebden Bridge Community Association, adds:

“The volunteer response to the floods of December 2015 was truly remarkable. People of all backgrounds and faith groups joined with us to provide essential help for people affected by the floods. We are so proud to be part of this community and were humbled by the kindness and resilience shown by so many. The Town Hall is a community building and our combined efforts demonstrated what can be achieved when a strong community works together.

“I’d like to pay tribute to the work of Rachel Rickards and Amy Harbour (our former Chair and Executive Director), who provided tremendous leadership at the time of the floods. It’s wonderful to receive news of this award during Volunteers Week and just before we celebrate our fifth birthday.”

The award comes just ahead of The Town Hall’s Fifth Birthday Celebrations on Saturday 24 June, which will mark five years of operation as a community-owned building, complete with a contemporary extension housing community spaces, a cafe and small businesses.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was created by The Queen in 2002 to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee, recognising excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community. It is the MBE for volunteer groups. Winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

You can read the full list of organisations that have received the award in 2017 in this edition of The London Gazette.