MP congratulates Catterick Garrison support service for royal recognition

Rishi Sunak plays with Liam and Casey at Home-Start Richmondshire’s Catterick Garrison base.

Rishi Sunak has congratulated a Catterick Garrison-based support service which has received royal recognition for what it does to assist families facing difficult times.

Home-Start Richmondshire, a charity which provides practical and emotional support for military and civilian families, received a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the MBE for volunteer groups – in 2020.

Mr Sunak was due to visit last year to thank the team of 40 volunteers and staff but the visit was delayed by the pandemic.

He said: “It was very rewarding to meet the people behind the charity and to find out more about their great work with families in our community facing challenging times.

“The Queen’s Award was well-deserved acknowledgement of the tremendous contribution of the committed volunteers and the small team of staff who support them to do such a valuable job.”

During his visit, Mr Sunak spoke to co-ordinator Yvonne Macdonald, charity trustee and volunteer Mary Wykes and home-visiting volunteer Karen Matthews.

He also met Clarice Thomson with her two young sons Liam and Casey who have been helped by the charity. Clarice hopes to volunteer herself to support a family in the future.

Mrs Macdonald said the charity’s volunteers provided help to struggling families for two to three hours a week. That might include time, friendship, support, encouragement and practical help for as long as is needed.

She said: “Sometimes being a parent can be difficult for all sorts of reasons.  If there are no close family members or friends to turn to it can be even tougher.

“In many cases our trained volunteers used to be parents themselves so they understand what it’s like. They are there to offer a friendly helping hand and advice to a family with young children.

“We were delighted that Rishi could come and talk to us about our work and the Award of which we are very proud. Liam and Casey really enjoyed playing with him in our office.”

Home-Start Richmondshire, which covers the whole of the district as well as the Garrison, is seeking new volunteers with a new training preparation course due to start next month.

Call the charity’s office on 01748 850079 if interested in finding out more about volunteering with Home-Start Richmondshire.