Rural support volunteers have been named among this year’s recipients of the Queens Award for Voluntary Services in the Community.

This honour, which is widely considered the equivalent of an MBE for volunteer groups, recognises the commitment, expertise and support that volunteers provide on a daily basis.

Rural Support chief executive Jude McCann said: “It is an incredible achievement for Rural Support’s volunteers to receive this award.

Our volunteers are the backbone of our organisation; without them, our service would not exist.

“Receiving the Queens Award for Volunteering is an excellent recognition for the exemplary work our volunteers carry out, which all staff and directors are so very proud of.”

Rural Support volunteer Elaine said: “After my children had got that little bit older I decided I wanted to do some volunteering. Coming from a farming background and married to a farmer I thought Rural Support would be the perfect option.

Providing support to the helpline and attending outreach events meant that I was able to give a little back to the farming community.

“I am delighted that the hard work and commitment of my fellow volunteers has been recognised through the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.”

Representatives of Rural Support will receive the award from Robert Scott, Lord Lieutenant of Tyrone, later this summer.

It is estimated that more than 250,000 people in Northern Ireland volunteer, according to Volunteer Now.

Rural Support is currently recruiting for new volunteers to join their existing team. If you can answer ‘Yes’ to the following questions, the charity would like to hear from you:

  • Do you wish to contribute to the farming community of Northern Ireland in a purposeful, meaningful and rewarding way using your existing skills and experience?
  • Can you set aside some time in your busy life to help others and in turn yourself?

For more information about volunteering with Rural Support or to seek help, contact the helpline on: 0800-138-1678.