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Prestigious award for charity co-founded by Union treasurer  

Bristol-based charity Ablaze (A Business Learning Action Zone for Education) has just been awarded The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

Ablaze400It's the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities, and is seen as the ”MBE  for the voluntary and charitable sectors”. 

It was awarded to Ablaze for its work in promoting and supporting effective partnerships between businesses and schools in the Bristol region to improve the life chances of young people. 

Ablaze was co-founded in 2005 by our Union's treasurer Malcolm Broad MBE, alongside Nigel Hutchings.

Since then, thousands of young people across the wider Bristol region have been supported by businesses and community volunteers delivering support in schools through Ablaze programmes. The aim is to raise aspirations, attainment and improve skill levels to boost young people’s chances in continuing education, employment and life. 

Programmes, delivered by business volunteers working on a one-to-one or group basis with students, start early in Primary schools addressing literacy (Reading Buddies) and numeracy (Number Partners). 

The range of Ablaze programmes available in Secondary Schools and Academies includes interviewing and mentoring, and "reflects the importance of 'employability skills' and the need for young people to gain self-confidence and professional skills to enable them to take responsibility for their own futures through the personal and social competencies which are so important if they are to be motivated to achieve," according to its website.

Malcolm, who remains a trustee, said, 'This award is fantastic recognition and a huge 'thank you' for the thousand-plus business people who have given and continue to give of their time in helping young people both in primary and secondary phases of education, especially in deprived areas.

'I am delighted that the hard work of our volunteers has been recognised in this way, it's a great tribute to them but also to the many schools we work with across the city and beyond.'

A total of 187 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups will receive the prestigious award this year. Former broadcast journalist Martyn Lewis CBE is the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Committee Chair.

He said, 'I warmly congratulate all of the inspirational voluntary groups who have been rewarded for their community work with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The judging panel for this year’s awards were struck by the quality and breadth of all the successful groups.

'The thousands of volunteers who give up spare time to help others in their community and to help solve problems demonstrate the best of democracy in action.'

Baptist Times, 03/06/2015
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