MAPS (Mentoring, Advocacy and Peer Support), a project of Volunteer Centre Sutton, is delighted to announce that it is one of the proud recipients of this year’s prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS), in recognition of its outstanding services to the local community. The award is given to groups of volunteers who regularly devote their time to helping others in the community, improving the quality of life and opportunity for others and providing an outstanding service.
The winners of this award were announced TODAY and they have been invited to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace. They will also receive an ornamental English crystal from the local Lord Lieutenant, presented on behalf of the Queen, and a certificate signed by the Queen, recognising this achievement.
MAPS Manager, Helen Gasparelli, said:
‘It is an honour and a privilege for MAPS to have received this award, on behalf of the outstanding work of our volunteer mentors and team who selflessly give their time to the most vulnerable in their community. We are looking forward to sharing the award with the MAPS team volunteers, and friends at our VCS Garden Party to be held later this month’.
MAPS trains local volunteers to support vulnerable, disadvantaged young people, often with multiple, complex needs, so that they can build resilience, improve their self-esteem and confidence, enabling them to enjoy a healthy, successful life and to play an active, positive part in their community.
Past beneficiaries of the programme have commented:
“(my mentor is) like Nanny Mcfee: when you need her but don’t want her she is always there, but when you want her but don’t need her it’s time for her to go.”
For more examples of how young people have benefited from working with MAPS, please see
Caroline Magin, a volunteer with MAPS since 2009, who is attending the Buckingham Palace garden party tomorrow, said in response to the following questions:
1: Why did you get involved in volunteering?
I moved to Sutton about 5 years ago and thought it would be good way to get to know the area and get involved in volunteering as it’s something I’ve done on and off for years (I think this is the longest voluntary project I’ve ever committed to!). In a previous job, I’d had a mentor, so when I saw the mentoring roles advertised I thought about how great a mentor had been for me (it built my confidence and helped me get a promotion) and thought it was an opportunity to do the same for someone else.
2: Why did you want to support MAPS?
I support MAPS because it’s a great project supporting young people who might need some extra support at a particular time in their life. The MAPS team are enthusiastic and fun and whenever I’ve needed help with any mentoring issues, they’ve always been available for a chat. Obviously, I’ve seen first-hand just how important mentoring is for young people and how much difference your hour a week can make. All of my mentees have come from different backgrounds and have different personalities, but they’ve all needed the same thing – someone to talk to in confidence and have a bit of fun with!
3: What do you get out of volunteering?
I really enjoy seeing the progress my mentees make over the year and knowing that you’ve been involved in helping them through a difficult time in their lives. I also enjoy getting to try new things that I might not have done for a while, like going to Chessington World of Adventures, pottery painting or wall climbing.
4: What is the best outcome you have seen with a young person you support?
For a lot of my mentees confidence has been the best outcome I’ve seen as it’s really important for them to feel that they can achieve whatever it is they want to achieve and feel positive about themselves.
5: What does being part of winning the award, attending the party etc mean to you?
I’m really honoured to be asked to attend and really, really excited (especially with all the cake)! MAPS and everyone who’s a part of MAPS deserve this award as it’s an amazing and rewarding project that deserves to be recognised!
Chris Parker, CEO of Volunteer Centre Sutton remarked:
‘It’s a massive honour for MAPS and Volunteer Centre Sutton, to be chosen for The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. It is simply the highest accolade we can achieve and my heartfelt thanks must go to MAPS’ Volunteer Mentors who started this project 18 years ago. Never underestimate the amazing difference a handful of volunteers and the dedicated MAPS team can make to the lives of others! This award is dedicated to those who are willing to give their time and energy to being positive role models for young people in our community. Thank you.’
If you would like to volunteer for MAPS, or any other local community group, please contact:
Volunteer Centre Sutton