THE RUGBY Autism Network (RAN) has become the first charity in the town – and one of the first in the country – to receive a King’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The congratulations of the King himself were passed on to representatives of the Network by Warwickshire’s Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Eric Wood, at a special reception hosted by Mayor Maggie O’Rourke at Rugby Town Hall.
During his speech, Mr Wood told the RAN representatives that they remain the only charity in the county to have had such a reception in their honour.
RAN founder and chairperson Fay McSorley said: “I am very excited and proud of everyone who has supported the Network and our ideas.
“There was no support available when we started 14 years ago, when my eldest was diagnosed. Since then my younger two daughters have also been diagnosed with autism, and I have been diagnosed too.
“It’s been an interesting and exciting journey, and I am so looking forward to making many more friends through the network in future.
“Our volunteers deserve this award, and I am so proud of them.”
Coun O’Rourke paid tribute to the hard work and commitment of RAN’s volunteers.
She said: “I am delighted that this group’s work has been recognised. Rugby Autism Network is the first in the Borough, and one of the first in the county, to receive one of the King’s Awards for Voluntary Service.
“Your voluntary work has improved the lives of many of our citizens and you serve as a shining example of putting service before self. Your outstanding work fully deserves this honour.”
The reception was attended by some of the volunteers and families supported by the Rugby Autism Network, along with councillors from across the political groups.
Rugby Autism Network supports the parents and carers of young autistic people in Rugby, enabling families to enjoy quality time together through autism-friendly events, days out, learning materials, workshops, and social support.
The King’s Award for Voluntary Service (KAVS), formerly known as The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE. It recognises the work of local volunteer groups to benefit their communities.
Representatives from RAN will receive the award crystal and certificate from Tim Cox, Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, within the next twelve months – and two volunteers from the group will attend a garden party for KAVS recipients at Buckingham Palace next year.
Visit www.rugbyautismnetwork.co.uk for more information on RAN.