Tuesday 5 June 2018

The value of volunteers @metooandco

This week, a smaller but extremely important South West London charity was awarded The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS).  I couldn't be more pleased.

The work Me too & Co does for the community has been  recognised by the Independent Assessment Committee, chaired by Sir Martyn Lewis, and Me too & Co has been selected as a recipient for The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) 2018.  The award was created by HM The Queen in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of the Queen's coronation, recognising excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community. It is the MBE for volunteer groups.

Me Too & Co,  an independent charity based in Twickenham, was set up in 2006 and supports families with children who have additional needs.  They provide many services such as inclusive play and clubs, relaxation mornings for parents, host local NAS coffee mornings, give legal education and additional needs advice and much more.  When our first son, Anthony, was diagnosed with autism, one of their leaflets was thrust into my hands by the paediatrician.  It sat in a pile in the corner of the kitchen for ages before I finally thought I'd check it out.  I'm so glad I did.

Put quite simply, Me Too & Co is a life changer for many special needs parents in the area (and beyond).  The volunteers including the trustees, managers and staff provide an unmatched 'I've been there' knowledge and support. I remember one parent I met there who came not long ago saying, "I've learned more here in the first ten minutes since I walked in the door than I have in the last six months since my child was diagnosed."

It's not the first time, I've heard that.

When my eldest autistic child started school we found out our second was also autistic.  I spent a lot of time at Me Too & Co.  As David was more affected I got specific information and soon found I was also able to pass on knowledge.

It was one of the first places I turned to when Anthony was also then diagnosed with ADHD and in getting his EHCP Transfer done properly.  Jane went to the play sessions as a way of life and practiced her Makaton so she could communicate with her brothers.

I'm not at all surprised then that I ended up volunteering there too.  I help out where I can, give knowledge and use my skills to help others, like those did and are still doing around me. I know what it means to share a cry.

Me too & Co volunteers will be presented with their QAVS badges at the forthcoming Volunteers Thank You Party which we run each year.  We all like to say thank you too - just like the Queen I guess.

If you know of a charity that deserves a bit of recognition, why not tell me about them and take part in my #CherishedCharity guest blogging series? I'd love to have you!


  1. How lovely that such a deserving charity has been recognised. It's amazing how many of these fantastic groups exist and nobody knows about them unless they need their services. It's great that there are organisations out there that are recognising the work that the volunteers do and that this hopefully means these groups can continue to thrive :-) #triumphanttales

  2. So good to see such a valued organisation recognised. Volunteers change so many lives contributing so much socially first and foremost but also economically. I also love how volunteers can get so much out of volunteering themselves in terms of training, confidence and feeling they matter. So often a win-win scenario #TriumphantTales

  3. Volunteering is really something so it's great to see the charity being recognised. Thanks for sharing with #TriumphantTales, we'd love to see you back again on Tuesday!

  4. It sounds like lots of people benefit from this charity. Some of my favourite roles have been through volunteering. #TriumphantTales


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