Broke Not Broken, an independent foodbank charity based in Kinross, has been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest honour in charity work. The award recognises and highlights the essential services and exceptional work provided by volunteer groups to benefit and support their local communities around the UK. It is considered the MBE for volunteer groups in the UK.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and recipients are announced each year on 2nd June to mark the anniversary of the Queen’s coronation. This prestigious award recognises the exceptional service and efforts that Broke Not Broken and their volunteers have gone to over the last six years and particularly in recent times of heightened uncertainty.

Broke Not Broken are the only charity in Perth and Kinross and one of just 18 in Scotland who will receive the prestigious accolade, which will be awarded to a total of 241 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups this year.

Founded in 2015, Broke Not Broken is 100% volunteer-run and relies solely on charitable donations to support local people in need. A small group of volunteers founded the charity with one simple mission in mind: to make themselves redundant within a few months. Six years later the team continue to be the cornerstone of local charitable support, providing much needed foodbank services, advice and support to Kinross-shire.

During the first weeks of the pandemic in 2020, demand for the foodbank increased by 1000% as lockdown restrictions hit. Broke Not Broken and its volunteers went from providing 32 food parcels in May 2019, to 320 in May 2020. In 2020 the team of volunteers distributed food parcels to 2234 households, totalling 6085 people, 3425 of whom were children.

The team reacted quickly to the pandemic, moving to a delivery system to keep volunteers and recipients safe, streamlining the referrals process to simplify the way people could access their services and included facemasks and hand sanitiser (expensive items) in their food parcels, to ensure clients could stay safe and well.

The charity is community led and, over the years, has become a cornerstone of local charitable support; providing not only much-needed foodbank services but also additional services. These include a local advice hub and counselling for residents as well as specific initiatives to support families in need. All of which are locally funded and rely on the generous donations of the local community and shops.

Thanks to the generosity of donors, over £50k has been shared across those in need in the community in the last year. These donations have covered food costs, £18k of supermarket vouchers and funding for 15 counselling places. In the winter months, support was also given to those experiencing fuel poverty and over £2,000 of support for new winter coats provided to 96 local children.

Later this summer, representatives from Broke Not Broken will receive the crystal award and certificate from Stephen Leckie, Lord-Lieutenant of Perth & Kinross. Two volunteers will be invited to attend a garden party at Holyrood House in July 2022 (depending on restrictions at the time), along with other recipients of this year’s award.

Anne McCormack, Chair of Broke Not Broken, said: “The team at Broke Not Broken are incredibly honoured and humbled to have been given this award in recognition of our work in the Kinross-shire community.

We are incredibly proud of the support we provide to those who need it, especially as an entirely volunteer-based charity. Broke Not Broken started with one simple mission – to make ourselves redundant.

Six years later, we are still going and our role in the community continues to grow, no more so in the last year, which although has been incredibly challenging, has brought to the fore how important and valued our services are. This award recognises the hard work and commitment of not just current volunteers, but also the host of people who have been involved with our charity since its inception.“

Mr Leckie, commented: “The volunteers at Broke Not Broken are hard working, modest, selfless people with inspiring leaders, who bring change to many peoples’ lives for the better. For that and for their pre-pandemic service to those across the community, Broke Not Broken Kinross is very well worthy of Her Majesty’s recognition with the award of a QAVS’.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Independent Committee Chair, former broadcast journalist Sir Martyn Lewis, said:

“This year’s Queen’s Award awardees are a powerful testimony to the remarkable achievements and innovative ideas, which characterise volunteering in the UK. They prove that, more than ever, volunteers beavering away at grassroots level are the active lifeblood of our communities, identifying all kinds of problems and issues and tackling them with enthusiasm, talent and a high degree of success.

“The recipients of the Queen’s Award are at the very top of a formidable volunteering movement in the UK involving millions of our citizens, and going from strength to strength.”

The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said: “We know that the impacts of the pandemic have been felt unevenly across Scotland, with many of the most disadvantaged or marginalised bearing the heaviest weight. Broke not Broken is a shining example of an organisation that is working tirelessly to support their community – even through this pandemic.

“I am delighted that they have been awarded this honour, which rightly recognises the important work they’re doing. We continue to do all we can with the power we have to tackle the root causes of poverty, and to support groups like Broke not Broken to grow resilient communities together”

For more information, please visit https://brokenotbroken.org/


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