Alpha House Calderdale Celebrates King’s Award for Voluntary Service: Honouring Dedication to Rehabilitation and Community Support.

Staff and volunteers at local Calderdale Residential, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement charity for offenders, Alpha House Calderdale were brimming with joy to finally be presented with their hard-earned King’s Award for Voluntary Service last month.

Previously known as the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the award was created in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Equivalent to an MBE, the KAVS is the highest Award given to voluntary groups to recognise their exceptional work.

Founded in 2008 by Fran Nowell, Alpha House Calderdale offers individuals a chance at new beginnings. Fran’s career within the criminal justice system revealed the harsh cycle many faced upon release from prison, and the lack of support available to them.

Upon their release, Fran met many people battling with drug and alcohol addiction. A large majority were desperate to lead a life of sobriety but often were left to go back onto the streets or into situations which sadly led them directly back to their addiction.

Many of those also suffered significantly with their mental health, leading to the repetitive cycle of drug and or alcohol abuse, offending, prison and release.

In worst-case scenarios, the frustration some individuals felt about their inability to break free from this cycle led to suicide.

Fran too could relate to their frustration and sought to make a change within her community, giving people a chance to find themselves again and break the cycles which bind them.

Alpha House works on a 3-stage accommodation program:

Stage one provides concentrated structure and support, with a stay of up to 12 weeks in a self-contained apartment in their dedicated staffed support unit.

During this time residents attend the Change of Lifestyle Program which addresses addiction, mental health struggles and offending behaviours. During this phase, residents are fully supported and prepared to move into the next stage.

Stage two sees residents moved into self-contained apartments in a block of 18 which are all managed by Alpha House. This provides a “recovery community” with on-call staff and staff also available at the adjacent support unit. Each resident will follow a personal recovery program designed to meet their needs.

The move into stage three is a property further out in the community with education/training/volunteering or work experience. Once individuals have secured permanent employment, they are then given the opportunity to take on these properties independently.

Alpha House is incredibly proud of its skills and education group, which aids greatly with the rehabilitation of offending and improving mental health status by delivering accredited courses through the Quality License Scheme.

The courses available include addressing offending, dealing with depression and anxiety, dealing with my thinking, dealing with my anger and dealing with gambling and money management.

Their latest initiative, funded through the Mayor of West Yorkshire’s Safer Communities fund is their Respect and Safety of Women Diploma, which will encourage good practices throughout the community and further solidify Mayor Tracy Brabin’s Safety of Women and Girls pledge to tackle the deep-rooted gender inequality and subconscious biases to further protect the women of West Yorkshire.

The much-deserved Kings Award was given to the organisation at the end of 2023, with the presentation being given by the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Ed Anderson and The Mayor and Mayoress of Calderdale Ashley Evans and Rosie Tatchell at a celebratory event in March this year.

This recognition is a testament to the tireless efforts of both staff and volunteers, many of whom are reformed addicts and ex-offenders themselves.

Yvonne Oliver, CEO of Alpha House commented: “Our worthy volunteers were thanked today when the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire presented them with the Kings Award for Voluntary Service. A well-deserved accolade for all their hard work”.

The award truly is a representation of the time, commitment and empathy toward others in our community. Alpha House’s mission of supporting those struggling and offering a new pathway to those intent on change is seen daily through their work.

Congratulations to all at Alpha House Calderdale.

If your group, or one you know, is truly outstanding and making a difference to the local community and driven mostly by volunteers, then they may be eligible to be nominated for the Kings Award for Voluntary Service.

Award nominations open on Saturday 1st June and close on Sunday 15th September 2024.

More information can be found by visiting:

The West Yorkshire Lieutenancy will be hosting a FREE online workshop about the awards on Monday 15th April, 2.00-3.00 pm.

West Yorkshire Lord Lieutenant, Ed Anderson, will be available in person to answer your questions, and you can hear from a previously successful award winner about what it means to receive a KAVS.

This workshop is hosted by Community Action Bradford and District (CABAD) but is open to groups from across West Yorkshire.

Register here:

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