The Crescent is one of 193 voluntary groups to receive the impressive award this year, being the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK, it recognizes the outstanding work they do in their communities.
Situated in St Albans, the voluntary group offers a variety of support services for those living with or affected by HIV. Additionally, the group offers sexual health testing, instant HIV tests and includes open access drop in sessions, advice and counselling.
Lord Rennard, The Crescent Patron, told Attitude: “The Crescent has overcome some considerable obstacles in the last six years and I fully support their work for people living with or affected by HIV.”
He added, “This is a model organisation run by the people it helps, where those affected have a direct influence on how and where they receive the much needed help and support to enable them to manage their condition.”
Iain Murtagh, Head of Operations at The Crescent said:
“The Crescent is immensely proud to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of the hard work of our volunteers and staff, without whom we simply could not provide the range of services for those living with or affected by HIV.”
“Without the support of the wonderful people of St Albans, who have donated time and money to help us in our hour of need, we simply would not have survived. This award is for all of you and we wish to express, on behalf of our hundreds of members, our heartfelt thanks to you all.”
The Crescent lost fundamental funding back in 2011, when their local council – Hertfordshire County Council cut it. Since then the group has relied on support from the public to ensure they can still run as a group and offer their services.
The Crescent further stress that “There is still much more to do… HIV is still a very unfairly stigmatised condition. It is also still a major public health issue with 1 in 6 people living with HIV unaware they have the virus and over 6000 new diagnoses in 2014.”
They also urge you to talk to your local MP about the recent issue of PrEP not being made available on the NHS.
Two volunteers from the group were invited to Buckingham Palace earlier this year to attend a garden party and meet the Queen. The Crescent will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire later this year.
Nominations for the 2017 Queens Voluntary Service close on 16 September 2016 and can be made online here.
Iain Murtagh expresses “We have much work to do, but together we can beat HIV. Please help us to continue to support those affected, and continue to work to reduce the opportunity for the virus to gain ground in our community”
Words: James Jefferson
Gaga fans start petition to stop Madonna and Mariah from "exploiting" the gay community
Wife gets public revenge on husband after he cheats with male gardener