Stripey Stork, the Reigate-based baby bank, has won a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award for voluntary groups in the UK, in recognition of the life-changing service they give to families in need across Surrey.
The award recognises outstanding work in the local community and is regarded as the equivalent of an MBE for voluntary groups.
Founded in 2013, Stripey Stork collects new and pre-loved items for babies and children and distributes them to vulnerable families via a network of referral partners, including schools, health visitors, social services and women’s refuges.
The charity has now met over 7000 requests for help, by providing clothes, books, toys and equipment worth over £2.3m.
Nicola Dawes, Stripey Stork founder and general manager, said:
“Receiving such a prestigious award which recognises our amazing team of volunteers is a fitting acknowledgement for all their hard work.
The demand for our service has grown more than we could have imagined and, whilst it saddens us that there is such a need, the power behind being able to answer this call has been our dedicated team of volunteers.
We have recently moved to larger premises with an aim of helping even more families in Surrey, and so this national recognition will be a great motivation to all of Team Stork to offer on a wider scale the service we are so proud of.”
Stripey Stork was nominated by County Cllr Barbara Thomson, supported by two of the charity’s referral partners.
Trudy Mills, director for Children & Family Health Surrey, said of the charity’s work:
“We see first-hand the difference it makes to families in need. There is no equivalent service. Without Stripey Stork many of the families our team supports would struggle to provide the basic necessities for their babies and young children.”
Val Frost, interim chief executive of First Community Health & Care, said:
“The team of staff and volunteers at Stripey Stork have created a service to be very proud of.
The range and quality of items available is impressive and they are always presented with such care. Stripey Stork always provides a warm welcome to our team and will go the extra mile to ensure the items we collect are just what is needed.”
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service will officially be presented later in the year by the Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, the Queen’s representative in the county.
As part of the award, two representatives of the charity were invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May.
Stripey Stork is always looking for enthusiastic and hardworking volunteers to join its team, saying that individuals, community groups and corporate teams will receive a friendly welcome and a rewarding experience: details on its website.