Cardiff Rivers Group (CRG) has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
CRG was formed five years ago by Keep Wales Tidy as part of Welsh Government’s flagship community initiative, Tidy Towns. Since 2009 the dedicated volunteers have carried out 106 clean-ups, collecting more than 2,600 bags of waste as well as 23 tonnes of larger waste and 6 tonnes of scrap metal. They also work to remove invasive plant species that threaten biodiversity, clear overgrown vegetation from footpaths and support local groups with volunteer manpower, tools and equipment.
Tidy Towns, a partnership between Keep Wales Tidy and all 22 local authorities, funded by Welsh Government, has clocked up over one million volunteer hours since it started back in 2008. The initiative supports communities, groups and volunteers in a variety of practical activities that help people take charge of their local environment, whilst also helping to tackle poverty, increase levels of skills and training, and improve health and wellbeing.
Chris Hackett and Nigel Barry from Cardiff Rivers Group attended a garden party in Buckingham Palace on Thursday 28 May where they met the Queen and other winners of this year’s award.
Cardiff Rivers Group is one of 187 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of awards handed out to groups have increased by over 60% from 2014, due to an increase in high quality applications, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to tackle community challenges.
Cardiff Rivers Group, who recently picked up a Tidy Wales Award, will receive the Queen’s Award from the Lord Lieutenant of South Glamorgan later this summer.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Committee Chair, former broadcast journalist Martyn Lewis CBE said: “I warmly congratulate all of the inspirational voluntary groups who have been rewarded for their community work with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The judging panel for this year’s awards were struck by the quality and breadth of all the successful groups. The thousands of volunteers who give up spare time to help others in their community and to help solve problems demonstrate the best of democracy in action.”
Chief Executive of Keep Wales Tidy, Lesley Jones, said: “We are pleased to support Cardiff Rivers Group and I would like to congratulate them on winning this prestigious award. They are a perfect example of what local communities can achieve when they work together and I hope their continued success can inspire others to get involved in helping to look after their local areas.”
Chair of Cardiff Rivers Group, Duval Ferdinand, said: “I am so proud of what we have achieved in the past five years. Who would have thought that the handful of volunteers with an idea to look after the rivers of Cardiff, would have developed into the sustainable group we are today, with over 300 members.
“We are truly grateful to Keep Wales Tidy for their support, advice and funding. It helped us become established and enabled us to make a difference to both the environment and the volunteers who take part. It is thanks to this support that we are now able to help other groups care for their local environment.”
If anyone is interested in joining the group to help them carry out invaluable work for the community please visit the Cardiff Rivers Group website www.cardiffriversgroup.co.uk