A team of volunteers for The Fed’s My Voice project have been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The My Voice project, run by The Fed’s Volunteer Services department supports Holocaust survivors and refugees in recounting their life stories. These are published hardback books, providing priceless legacies for their families and future generations, and offering valuable first-hand accounts for Holocaust education.
Volunteer Services manager, Juliette Pearce, explained: “My Voice celebrates the survivors’ entire lives – not just the years of persecution, but their childhoods in communities which were decimated, and the rebuilding of their lives from nothing. We help to validate their lives. Their stories tell of their successes, the wonderful contributions they have made to the Greater Manchester community and beyond. They are stories of triumph.
“This accolade however is for the 50-plus dedicated volunteers involved in the project, who undertake a variety of roles to enable these stories to be told. They befriend our storytellers over many months recording conversations which are then transcribed and go through a meticulous editing and proofreading process, before being individually designed and illustrated with photos.
“The care, sensitivity and exactitude of the task is breath-taking. These volunteers are from all walks of life with a huge range of skills but above all they are passionate and committed individuals who take on an enormous responsibility – not just to the survivors but to the loved ones they lost – in helping ensure they will never be forgotten, and that the positives in their lives will be celebrated.”
To date, the Heritage Lottery-funded project has published the stories of 28 survivors with another 11 currently going through various stages of production. A set of volumes is archived at Yad Vashem, World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem.
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 and recipients are announced each year on the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation. The Manchester social care charity is one of fewer than 250 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year, which is the highest recognition a voluntary group can receive in the UK, equivalent to an MBE.
Representatives of My Voice will receive the award crystal and certificate from the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester later this summer and two volunteers from My Voice will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in 2022.