Deaf Life19th August 2014

Royal Seal of Approval for DEAFvibe

Having been recognised for their voluntary service, DEAFvibe group enjoy tea with the Royal family

by Nicki Large

DEAFvibe is always waxing lyrical about its amazing team of dedicated volunteers, but now the charity has been awarded the highest accolade imaginable. In June it was announced that DEAFvibe had been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, an award equivalent to the MBE, which recognises the contribution of individuals and groups to the voluntary sector.

DEAFvibe is run on an entirely voluntary basis and the award is testament not only to the huge amount of work that the co-founders Alison France and Rowan Robinson put into the creation of the charity, but also to the dedication of the volunteers and trustees that ensure that DEAFvibe runs smoothly and continues to serve Deaf, hard-of-hearing and deafblind people in Staffordshire with the shared goal of creating equality, access and fairness

Following the exciting news that DEAFvibe were to be recipients of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, four representatives were invited to attend a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on 10th June.

It was in a flurry of excitement that we arrived at Stoke Station, glammed up in our dresses and fascinators all ready for a grand day out. We were met by a local newspaper photographer and snapped on the platform before climbing onto a train for a once in a lifetime adventure.

The sun came out as we travelled from Euston Station to Buckingham Palace, where we joined a queue that seemed to go on forever. The queuing was well worth it to enter through the famous front gates of Buckingham Palace, where we were directed through the quadrangle and through a small part of the Palace, which led out onto the terrace and into the garden.

We took our place among the crowd of people gathered on the lawn, waiting to catch a glimpse of Her Majesty, who duly appeared with Prince Phillip and other members of her family to the sounds of the National Anthem. DEAFvibe got to speak to Princess Eugenie, who was warm, friendly and seemed quite deaf aware. She mentioned that it must be difficult when talking to younger people of her generation, who tend to mumble which means we can’t lipread them easily.

After the Queen’s arrival, we took the opportunity to wander around the garden, where we visited the Tea Tent and sampled those famous cucumber finger sandwiches (with the crusts cut off of course!!) and some dainty little cakes. The gardens were beautiful and all sorts of people milled about dressed in their finery and military or police uniforms. It was amazing to see the variety of hats too.

We stayed until 6pm, when the national anthem marked the departure of the Royal Family and we caught a glance of Her Majesty, Prince Phillip, Prince Andrew, Princess Anne and the Duchess of Cambridge making their way back indoors. It was a fantastic opportunity.

We only wished that we could have taken all the volunteers with us on this special day. However we will be able to say a huge thank you to our volunteers and supporters as we hold an invitation-only reception at the Council Chambers in Newcastle-under-Lyme in November, where the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire will present DEAFvibe with the crystal award and a certificate signed by Her Majesty the Queen.

DEAFvibe Chair, Julie Hart said “DEAFvibe is absolutely delighted to hear that we have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for our work with Deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind people in the Staffordshire area, as well as their families, friends and carers. Deafness can be very isolating and the volunteers of DEAFvibe offer accessible services that ensure all deaf people are treated equally and with respect. We feel privileged to be a recipient of this prestigious award, which recognises the hard work that DEAFvibe has achieved since its launch in 2010.”

Article by Nicki Large

posted in Community / Deaf Life

19th August 2014