THE good and hard work of two West Berkshire charities has been recognised by the Queen.
Thames Valley Kings Wheelchair Basketball Club and the West Berkshire Therapy Centre, both based in Thatcham, have received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
The basketball club was founded by Jacqueline Scoins-Cass as a 12-month project for her Queen’s Guide Award, and 12 years later continues to go from strength to strength.
In 2011, at the age of 26, she was appointed an MBE for voluntary services.
Last year, the club’s many volunteers contributed more than 3,200 hours, supporting their junior and adult teams and raising the profile of wheelchair basketball in the local community.
They also brought Inclusive Zone Basketball to schools in Berkshire, while Kings coaching staff have volunteered their time to assist at regional and national levels.
Head of marketing for the Kings, Peter Scoins, said: “The Queen’s Award is an amazing achievement for the club to receive.
“It represents the hard work people have placed into growing the success of the club.
“We believe we are also the first wheelchair basketball club in the UK to receive it as well.
“On behalf of everyone at the Kings, we are all honoured and would love to thank Berkshire Community Foundation for their original nomination.”
The Kings can add the Queen’s Award to the British Wheelchair Basketball’s Club of the Year and West Berkshire Community Group of the Year awards it won in 2016.
The West Berkshire Therapy Centre (WBTC), based in the Frank Hutchings Community Hall in Thatcham received the award just three years after it was formed.
The centre provides therapy and exercise for disabled people, using specialist equipment 32 hours each week.
Centre director John Holt said: “This pays tribute to the many, excellent individuals who volunteer and help the centre in a very wide set of roles, ensuring that our service is provided to the highest possible standard.
“The trustees most warmly thank and congratulate all the WBTC volunteers and staff for everything they have done and for their wonderful personal commitment and their teamwork.”
The Queen’s award follows the centre receiving a Gold Community Award from Thatcham Town Council last month.
Trustees are currently raising funds to develop a new hydrotherapy service to meet local needs.
The Queen’s Award was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and winners are announced each year on June 2 – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.
Both organisations will receive their awards later this year.