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Walking With The Wounded receives The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Walking With The Wounded’s volunteering programme OP-REGEN has been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

OP-REGEN, based in Greater Manchester, launched in February 2020 is a volunteering programme that offers a platform for ex-military personnel to recognise their inherent skills and empowers them to demonstrate these skills to the wider community. For those that have landed on hard times, the project aims to support these individuals and their families to reintegrate back into society and to have a meaningful positive impact on the environment in which they reside; additionally, for those not in employment the projects aims to assist in their journey back into the workplace.

Although focused on ex-military, more generally the project is supported by volunteers from all backgrounds including Corporate UK and encourages these individuals to work together, leading to a greater increase in community cohesion and safer neighbourhoods.

Fergus Williams, CEO of Walking With The Wounded commented: “OP-REGEN embodies the future ambitions of Walking With The Wounded to support ex-military seeking support and to find those that require support but are not actively seeking it.  I am immensely proud of the programme and delighted that the hard work and commitment of all those who have volunteered through OP-REGEN are being recognised by being awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

“OP-REGEN provides our clients, our corporate partners and ultimately, our armed forces community, with the opportunity to ‘serve again’ by utilising the inherent skills of the service leaver and showcasing the standards and values of those that have served.”

Walking With The Wounded is one of 241 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.

Veteran, beneficiary of WWTW and volunteer for OP-REGEN, Christopher commented: “I chose to volunteer with Walking With The Wounded after my Employment Advisor suggested it would help me if I engaged in OP-REGEN.  It’s helped me develop my confidence and add structure to my week which will ultimately support my journey back into employment which is my main goal.”

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteer groups from across the UK, including an inclusive tennis club in Lincolnshire; a children’s bereavement charity in London; a support group those living with dementia and their carers in North Yorkshire; a volunteer minibus service in Cumbria; a group supporting young people in Belfast; a community radio station in Inverness and a mountain rescue team in Powys.

Representatives of Walking With The Wounded will receive the award crystal and certificate from the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester later this summer. Furthermore two volunteers from Walking With The Wounded will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2022 (depending on restrictions at the time), along with other recipients of this year’s Award.