OPAL receives Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2020

OPAL receives Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2020

Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2020

OPAL is delighted to announce that we have been awarded a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This prestigious national award is in recognition of the hard work and commitment of our amazing volunteers. 

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of The Queen’s coronation. It is the MBE for volunteer groups.

Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs M.B.E, K.St.J honoured OPAL with the award – along with a signed certificate from the Queen and an invitation to the Royal Garden Party next year.

“OPAL Services truly is a remarkable organisation which provides what I can only describe as a lifeline for older residents in rural villages throughout West Cheshire,” said the Lord Lieutenant. “Thanks to their team of very special volunteers it puts smiles on people’s faces and it brings happiness and purpose back into the lives of many.”

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “This award is such wonderful news and very well deserved by a group of volunteers who are making a real difference to people’s lives within their own communities.

“As Council Leader, one of my top priorities is helping to develop stronger communities in our borough and encouraging everyone to play their part in tackling the challenges we face, as this is the only way we can succeed.

“This will become even more important as we work together to help our borough to recover from the current crisis, and it’s groups like OPAL that show us just what can be achieved when communities work together to help each other. They are a shining example and fully deserve this accolade.”

To celebrate receiving the award, OPAL is honouring its volunteers with various activities during the week which include the delivery of an afternoon tea, volunteer goody bags and a virtual thank you party on Zoom.

Jane Colville, Chair of the Board of Trustees for OPAL Services, said: “We’re so delighted to receive this award as a tribute to our volunteers. They really are at the heart of our charity and we couldn’t function without them. Thanks to their hard work, the majority of our funding can go directly to those we help”.


Volunteers’ Week 1st – 7th June 2020

At OPAL we celebrate all our volunteers during Volunteers Week 1st – 7th June.

Although this year we will not be able to hold our usual in-person celebrations to honour and thank our hundreds of volunteers, we will celebrate them and highlight the impact they have on our charity.

A massive thank you for everything you do, from all of us at OPAL to all our volunteers. You volunteers really make a difference.


OPAL benefits from Marshes Community Benefit Fund

OPAL Services is among 10 projects to have been awarded funding from The Marshes Community Benefit Fund (MCBF) in May 2020.

Says Joycey Bailey MCBF Panel Member PR;

During these difficult times and amidst the lockdown the independent Panel were able, through the Zoom meeting platform, to consider this round’s applications. After much deliberation and discussion, members agreed to award a total of just over £73,000 to ten projects which, in the views of the Panel majority, best met the requirements and objectives of the Community Benefit Fund.

OPAL Services is pleased to have been selected to receive £10,000 to go towards funding two community schemes in the Helsby and Frodsham area, for a further year and would like to thank MCBF for their generous support.

One of the schemes is Branching Out, which includes a social club, an activity café and cooking groups in Helsby and Frodsham.

The other scheme is OPAL Go On Line which helps people aged over 60 stay connected by using their laptops, phones and tablets. During Covid-19 continues to run as a phone based services supported by OPAL volunteers.

Both these schemes along with the other community based services OPAL provides have a positive impact in the general well-being of older people and their carers, enabling those who attend to benefit from being able to remain connected and engaged with hobbies and activities with friends.


Marshes Community Benefit Fund award

The Marshes Community Benefit Fund has once again granted funding to OPAL Services. The funding is for the OPAL Branching Out service which operates in the Frodsham and Helsby areas. Over the next year this funding will assist in the recovery phase of COVID – 19 and also going forward.

Our thanks go to the Marshes Community Benefit Fund for their help and practical support.


OPAL Newsletter – OPAL Matters – April 2020

Newsletter 6 – OPAL Matters April 2020

To read all the latest news at OPAL click on the link to download our latest newsletter.


Community Response Fund application success

OPAL has received news from Cheshire West and Chester Council that our  Community Response Fund application has been successful. This very welcome funding will help us to continue our work through the Covid19 pandemic. 

This is great news because it means we can continue delivering all our befriending and support services to existing members and can also now consider supporting additional people through this difficult time. We are extremely grateful for Cheshire West’s and The Westminster Foundation’s support at a time when our normal fundraising activities have been brought to a standstill.


3 new OPAL services now up and running

Over the last few weeks OPAL has been redesigning OPAL Services to comply with social distancing rules during the coronavirus pandemic.

We have successfully set up 3 new temporary services, all based on the social distancing and safe working guidance, while still supporting our members who are now self isolating.

Our new services are:

  • A telephone befriending service to keep in touch with our most vulnerable members.
  • A remote GoOnLine support service to support our members make best use of communication technology while isolated.
  • An ‘OPAL Reach’ newsletter to help the OPAL community stay in touch.

We expect that normal OPAL services will resume as soon as the social distancing guidelines are relaxed.


Coronavirus update (Temporary closure of services)

Coronavirus ….an urgent message for all our OPAL members and volunteers

OPAL Services is very aware of the way in which the coronavirus is spreading and of the implications for older people with underlying health conditions, be they our members or volunteers. 

We have been taking advice from the Council and taking account of information from Public Health England on this very difficult matter.

We believe we need to temporarily close our services until we can guarantee a safer environment for the people we provide the services for, and for our volunteers.

Our Clubs at Frodsham, Helsby, Kelsall, Malpas, Tarporley and Tattenhall will be closed from Monday 16th March, as will all the other community services we provide.  Please get in touch with your Organiser if you need more information and we will post further updates as soon as we have them. 

Our intention is to reopen these services as soon as it is safe to do so.

This is a fast moving situation and we are aware things can change at short notice. Thank you for your support.  

Jane Colville

Chair of OPAL Services (Rural West Cheshire)


Coronavirus update

Coronavirus (COVID-19) bulletin

Catch it, Bin it, Kill it


OPAL Services would like all members and volunteers to know that we are monitoring developments in Coronavirus (COVID-19) very closely and will issue news updates as the situation changes. For the moment we will continue to observe safe hygiene practices and encourage all others in our OPAL services and settings to do the same. 


We do not expect people (staff, volunteers or members) to attend our services if they have heavy colds or flu-like symptoms. If you have concerns, we would encourage you to talk to your Organiser as soon as possible. We will remain alert to new advice and information we receive and will communicate it as necessary.


The following is an extract from advice given by the UK Government, Public Heath England. The full guidance can be obtained from the following link:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-social-or-community-care-and-residential-settings-on-covid-19/guidance-for-social-or-community-care-and-residential-settings-on-covid-19#preventing-the-spread-of-infection


There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. There are general principles anyone can follow to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • washing your hands often – with soap and water, or use alcohol sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if handwashing facilities are not available – this is particularly important after taking public transport. Guidance is available on hand washing
  • covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in a bin. See Catch It, Bin It, Kill It
  • people who feel unwell should stay at home and should not attend work
  • employees should wash their hands:
    • before leaving home
    • on arrival at work
    • after using the toilet
    • after breaks and sporting activities
    • before food preparation
    • before eating any food, including snacks
    • before leaving work
    • on arrival at home
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • if staff are worried about their symptoms or those of a family member or colleague, please call NHS 111. They should not go to their GP or other healthcare environment

OPAL Newsletter – Winter 2020

To read all the latest news at OPAL click on the link to download our latest newsletter.


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