A boat rental service in Hemel Hempstead has been granted The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for its work introducing the disadvantaged to the joys of boating on the Grand Union Canal.
Waterways Experiences was nominated by councillor Bob Mclean, Mayor of Dacorum from 2016/2017.
He said: “I first visited Waterways Experience during our Deputy Mayoral year 2015/2016 as part of the High Sheriff day. The Mayoress and I visited again during our own mayoral year and have visited privately since too; we were both stunned, once again, by the enthusiasm of the volunteer base and impressed by the focus upon making available a unique experience for disabled and disadvantaged groups across the borough and beyond.
“It was that focus which so impressed us both, and led us to determine that we wished to put the organisation forward for the Queen’s award.
“We have been privileged to be involved with them and are delighted that their efforts have been recognised in this way; the entire team should be congratulated on this fantastic achievement.”
Paul Bennett, chair of trustees, said: “We are very proud to have been granted this prestigious award, the highest one given to UK volunteer groups. It recognises the outstanding work done by our volunteers over more than three years.”
Waterways Experiences, often known as WExp, was formed and is run entirely by volunteers with no paid employees. More than 170 volunteers come from all walks of life and together rise to a huge range of different challenges associated with operating three large boats.
Together they ensure that the boats are properly maintained with sufficient crew to deliver the hugely popular trips and that the essential training, finance, admin and communications functions run effectively.