The Priaulx Premature Baby Foundation has been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award given to any voluntary group across the UK.
The annual award was created to recognise and reward excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups within the community, and Jo Priaulx said she was humbled the charity had been selected for the honour.
‘We are absolutely thrilled to receive the Award and accept it on behalf of all the volunteers who give up their valuable time to help us do our work. It’s also a huge thank you to all those who tirelessly fundraise.
‘We are extremely proud of what the charity has achieved over the past decade, and are currently working on some very exciting projects, but none of this would be possible without the support of the local community, for which we are so grateful. This Award really is the icing on the cake.’
Jo and charity secretary, Ali Lihou, were invited to Buckingham Palace last week to celebrate the Award at a Garden Party attended by Her Majesty The Queen. The Queen’s Award is the equivalent of an MBE for a charity and was announced in 2002 as part of celebrations for The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. It is given for outstanding achievement by groups of volunteers who regularly devote their time to helping others in the community, improving the quality of life and opportunity for others and providing an outstanding service.
The PPBF was founded by triple World Touring Car Champion, Andy Priaulx and his wife, following the premature birth of their own children, Seb and Danniella, along with fellow trustee and treasurer Richard Le Tocq. To date the charity, now in its 12th year, has raised almost £300,000, providing vital support for the Bailiwick’s premature babies and their families.
It is currently fundraising for its most ambitious project to date, to buy a flat in Southampton, in the charities name, for Bailiwick families to use when they have premature or poorly children receiving treatment in the UK Hospital. The buy a brick scheme enables everyone to get involved and do their bit for the cause, with ‘bricks’ costing £5 each. Most recently, they have launched a new website, which aims to boost donations as well as raise the profile of the charity, making it easier and simpler for local families to get in touch.
‘We know from personal experience that it is very distressing having a premature baby. We want to do whatever we can to help local families who are going through what is a really difficult time,’ said Andy Priaulx.
Among equipment provided by the PPBF are incubators, hot cots, baby boxes and breast pumps. The charity has also been gifted the long lease on a flat in Southampton for local families who have a child at the UK hospital, to use, which incurs ongoing costs. The Foundation also provides vital emotional and financial support to families coping with the premature birth of their child, and extends that support to the families of children with serious or life-threatening conditions.
Groups cannot nominate themselves for The Queen’s Award, they have to be put forward by beneficiaries of their work, members of the public, representatives of public bodies, or other voluntary groups. All nominations are then assessed by a regional committee before being passed to a national committee for final selection and recommendation to The Queen. Winning groups receive a certificate signed by The Queen and a commemorative piece of crystal.