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Queen’s Award for Hartlepool Carers “means everything”

29th June 2022

Hartlepool Carers

Hartlepool Carers are overwhelmed to have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS), the highest recognition a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
The 27-year-old charity supports around 4,000 unpaid carers of all ages, has 11 volunteer Trustees and a further 40 volunteering throughout the organisation.
Today Hartlepool Carers is celebrating after joining an exclusive list of groups to have been honoured by Her Majesty The Queen, receiving the QAVS that is equivalent to an MBE.
As well as the prestigious Award, Hartlepool Carers will receive two tickets to attend the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace this summer and the QAVS crystal and certificate will be presented by the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Mrs Susan Snowdon.
Christine Fewster, the Hartlepool Carers’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are absolutely thrilled. It means so much to us all because we all know how much work is involved in being a carer and a volunteer.
“This award is about all of us connected with Hartlepool Carers and everyone who has ever been a part of such a fantastic charity.
“I want to say a big thank you to all of the volunteers that make this place work. We wouldn’t be able to reach as many families as we do without them.”
And Mrs Sue Snowdon, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, said: “Hartlepool Carers provide outstanding support and leadership to carers.
“For over 25 years they have made a simply huge difference to unpaid carers, people who make such an important contribution to individuals and communities.
“Their activities are a shining example of what can be achieved by motivated volunteers working within a well organised structure.  I am absolutely delighted to congratulate them on this richly-deserved award.”
Hartlepool Carers look at seven areas to help the carers across the town: education, training & employment, social support, respite, mental health, finances, living well at home and their caring role.
It has operated since Hilda Hamilton and Peggy Mordaunt, who were caring for their own husbands, felt something should be done to help people in their caring roles in 1996.
Initially little support groups were created, such as cake and coffee mornings that still take place today. After having a couple of headquarters, Hartlepool Carers moved to Lowthian Road ten years ago when a board of Trustees was created by Ruby Marshall – ‘the driving force behind what it is today’.
Christine said: “Ruby was the chair of the charity for 15 years and she died two years ago at the beginning of Covid. We are having a memorial on June 11 to celebrate the work she did across the town.
“She was passionate about moving the charity forward, brought in other volunteers on the board, and made sure Hartlepool Carers had the right skills within the group to develop and make sure the town had the right services.
“Still to this day we talk about the legacy she has left behind, her passion was endless. It does live on and we talk about Ruby and how proud she would have been, especially with this Queen’s Award – I’m sure everyone will be.”
Christine got involved six years ago when she was approached by the Trustees because she was a carer herself. She has two sons, James, 12, and Harry, 10, who have a rare diagnosis of MASA Syndrome, a degenerative and neurological condition, and autism too.
She said: “I know what it is like to be a carer, the difficulties people face. We want to help people at the start of their caring journey because it is a minefield, it is really difficult to navigate through.
“Our oldest volunteer is 90 years old and the youngest is 14. We then have more than 4,000 carers we support in Hartlepool and all of those are unpaid carers. They are all unpaid looking after loved ones with difficulties.
“The Queen’s Award is extremely special to us all. In my opinion it is in recognition of the whole group – the carers, the volunteers, everyone. We save the country billions of pounds a year because of that framework. It is a very proud day.”
Carers Week starts on June 6 when Hartlepool Carers will put on a programme of events across the community, providing activities, education and parties to celebrate what carers do across the town.
For further information on the work of Hartlepool Carers check out

“We are absolutely thrilled. It means so much to us all because we all know how much work is involved in being a carer and a volunteer.”
-Christine Fewster, Hartlepool Carers’ Chief Executive Officer


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