Congratulations have been pouring in following today’s announcement that the Rotary Telford Tree of Light has won The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2017.

Amongst the first to congratulate the Telford Tree of Light on their achievement was Rotarian John Sayer, Governor of the District that covers Shropshire, Staffordshire and parts of the West Midlands. He said today: “This is excellent news – congratulations to all concerned. It is a well-earned reward for many years of service to the local community.”

Rotarian Paul Booth, Chairman of the Trustees, said the four Rotary clubs which organise the Telford Tree of Light, Ironbridge, Telford Centre, The Wrekin and Wellington, were both ‘honoured and delighted’ to receive this significant award. “It is especially appropriate that the award has been received at the end of its 21st year of operation,” said Paul.

“From small beginnings, the operation has grown into a major annual undertaking, with the preparatory work commencing in April and culminating in a presentation evening in February/March. “The bulk of the activity takes place from late October to Christmas when people are given the opportunity to commemorate the names of their loved ones. These names are then displayed around a Tree in the Telford Shopping Centre and in other locations around the town. “They are also printed in the local paper, the Telford Journal, and on the Tree of Light website. Over 5,000 names are now regularly remembered each year.”

In addition to the opportunity to commemorate the names of loved ones, applicants are requested to donate a minimum of £5 – it has remained at that figure for 21 years – per name to local charities. Fifty percent of the funds raised are given to the local Severn Hospice with the remaining 50% shared between local charities nominated by each of the four Rotary clubs. Over the 21 years, nearly £550,000 has been raised with over £250,000 donated to the hospice and the remainder shared between 50 local charities.

Said Paul: “The whole operation can only function with the voluntary efforts of Rotarians from each of the four clubs and this is estimated at around 3,000 hours per annum.

“In addition, we are indebted to so many organisations who have helped to sponsor and support the Telford Tree of Light over many years, including Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors, Single Source, Telford Journal, Telford Reprographics, Telford Shopping Centre and Wellington Market Company. “These, together with other corporate sponsors, have underwritten all the costs and allowed all the funds raised to go direct to the charitable organisations.”

He added: “Most of all we are indebted to all our supporters who so dearly wish to commemorate their loved ones at Christmas time. We look forward to continuing to provide this service in 2017 and for many years to come.”


The Charities You Supported in 2016

Severn Hospice - £21,000

Severn Hospice is the region’s leading provider of specialist palliative and end of life care; we provide care and support to patients across Shropshire and Mid Wales. As one of the busiest hospices in the UK, our specialist team cares for thousands of local people every year.

We are committed to providing care to patients in the place where they want to receive it. The loving care we provide goes beyond the four walls of our buildings, as well as caring for patients in our Shrewsbury and Telford sites, our nursing teams also care for, and support, patients choosing to stay in their own homes. We have developed and expanded our community services to enable us to meet the ever-changing needs of those who rely on our care. We now care for as many patients in their own homes, as on our wards in Telford and Shrewsbury. 

We are also caring for people for longer periods of time. People are living longer with life limiting illnesses and we want to be there when, and how they need us.

All of the care we provide is free of charge, but not without cost. Thanks to the unwavering support of the people of Shropshire and Mid Wales, we are able to raise £7 million each year to fund our vital services, enabling our highly trained teams to be there when it matters most for local people.

Hope House - £10,500

Hope House is here for children who are affected by conditions so serious they are not expected to live beyond early adulthood - we help them enjoy the best possible quality of life and make the most of every moment with as much happiness and fulfilment as possible. We provide respite care, emotional support, empathy and understanding. We also provide care for children at the end of their lives.

Hope House is here for parents and families who can often find it hard to cope both emotionally and practically. In fact we’re here for the whole family throughout the lifetime of their child and often well beyond.

Hope House offers bereavement counselling to any family after the death of their child and to any children who have lost someone close to them suddenly or unexpectedly. Our special Snowflake bereavement suites mean that any family can stay close to and say goodbye to their child in a safe and supportive environment.

Our dedicated teams work from Hope House, in families’ own homes and within communities across Shropshire, Cheshire, North and Mid-Wales. All our services are free but to carry on funding them we need to raise over £6 million every year, almost all of which is generously contributed by the local community.

Age UK, Shropshire Telford & Wrekin - £2,625

Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin is a local charity, offering services supporting local older people to remain independently in their own homes for as long as possible and to combat loneliness and isolation.

The service model is volunteer-led supported by a small team of paid staff, last year Age UK STW supported 16,000 older people in Shropshire.

Loneliness is a key issue, we know that in Telford & Wrekin over 3,000 older people are in contact with family, friends or neighbours less than once a month (10,000 across Shropshire). Age UK STW offer a range of integrated, preventative services to reduce loneliness and social isolation. We want to use the donations from the Tree of Light to develop our friendship and living well services in Telford. Due to the demand for our services we are changing our service model so that we can use our volunteers to support even more local older people. This will improve older people’s wellbeing and reduce loneliness and isolation in Telford & Wrekin.

Home Start Telford & Wrekin - £2,625

Based in Telford Home-Start offers a unique service. We recruit and train volunteers, who are usually parents themselves, to visit families at home and offer them informal, friendly and confidential support. The families we help have at least one child under 5.

To help give children the best possible start in life, Home-Start supports parents as they grow in confidence, strengthen their relationship with their children and widen their links with the local community.

As a scheme we aim to provide young families with a 'fun outing' each term. This may be a trip to one of the local attractions and once a year we have a seaside visit which is always well attended. For some of our families this is the closest they get to a holiday each year.

The majority of our volunteers are 'Home visiting' volunteers. They are all parents themselves and support families by visiting them in thier own homes and helping them to work through a variety of issues. The cost of supporting a family for a year is £1,100 so this donation will give support to at least 2 families in Telford.

KiP - £5,250

KiP aims to provide an appropriate response to homeless individuals throughout the year but especially through the cold winter months and aims to help alleviate rough sleeping through partnership with Maninplace, Telford & Wrekin Council and also where appropriate, private landlords and short term B&B.

Kip engages with rough sleepers and provides the basic necessities including food and clothing through the Drop-in Centre on Tan Bank, Wellington and promotes fair access to all, compassion, honesty, integrity, quality of service in a non-judgemental and non-discriminatory environment.