To celebrate Her Majesty The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Engage with Age is calling for nominations from across the UK for "Diamond Champions", older people who volunteer in their local communities and go the extra mile to make a real difference to others' lives.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have agreed to be joint Patrons of the hunt for the Diamond Champions in recognition of the important and valuable role played by older people in communities throughout the UK.
Diamond Champion nominees must be over 60 and the aim is to find volunteers who make an extraordinary difference to their community by giving up their own time to help others. Sixty entries will be shortlisted for each region by a judging panel.
All 480 shortlisted volunteers from Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales will be presented with a specially designed Diamond Champions badge and certificate at a local celebration event. From the shortlist, a regional judging panel will select 10 people from each region to join 70 others at a royal residence to meet Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall in the autumn.
Olympic legend and Belfast Lord Lieutenant Dame Mary Peters, comments:
“The Diamond Champions is a wonderful idea where we can celebrate and support those who have given their lives in support of their communities. If anyone knows of an older volunteer in their local area they should nominate them- we need lots of entries from Northern Ireland”.
“Volunteering can help people to feel involved in their local community and can also give people a real sense of purpose and fulfillment”.
Local charity Engage With Age was selected by volunteering charity WRVS to lead the search for Diamond Champions across Northern Ireland.
Engage With Age Manager, Margy Washbrook comments:
“Engage With Age supports older people to keep actively involved in their local communities and is delighted to facilitate the Diamond Champions campaign. We want to encourage the many older people in NI who attend groups and activities in their communities, organised by older volunteers, to nominate the group organisers or any other older people who contribute to local life. It will be recognition of the huge amount of volunteering carried out by older citizens on a daily basis”
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have supported the campaign with the following message:
“We are both delighted to be Patrons of the WRVS’ national search for Diamond Champions. In this Diamond Jubilee year, we wanted to seek out and celebrate the contribution of the older generation who, often unsung and unnoticed, help to improve life for others in their communities. In supporting this Diamond Champions search, we hope that with your help we will be able to find those very special people who give so much to others and yet never ask for anything in return. It is these people who, by their acts of kindness and selfless giving, make a real difference to those less fortunate and who are, we believe, a vital part of what makes the United Kingdom a civilized and caring society.
Of course modern life brings many challenges and difficulties, but neighbourliness, friendship and a helping hand in times of need cost nothing and yet are invaluable and timeless. We do hope you will send in your Diamond Champion nominations; you will be helping to highlight and celebrate their significant contribution to our society. We both look forward to reading and hearing about your champions and to meeting at least some of them at a party later this year. ”