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Volunteers and guests past and present gathered at The Bus Shelter Dorset, static site on Mercery Road, Weymouth on Wednesday, 29th of March. To celebrate the presentation of the crystal award and certificate for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, by Angus Campbell Esq, the HM Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset
The Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset, Angus Campbell Esq, explains why this award has been given, “The Bus Shelter Dorset and its volunteers have done an enormous amount for rough sleepers and those in trouble in the area. Before its inception, people were falling through the cracks of provision. There was a considerable problem of vulnerable individuals sleeping rough and on the street in Weymouth and Portland.
Emily and her group of volunteers had a good idea and it’s grown like topsy since it came to fruition. The Bus Shelter Dorset is now a terrific asset to Dorset and particularly, Weymouth and Portland. An area that contains 10 of the 11 most deprived areas in Dorset.
This award is one of the last Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, it was awarded during her reign. But, from now on, these awards will be called the Kings Award for Voluntary Service.
I recommended The Bus Shelter Dorset for this award because it has done so much for its guests and the difference it has made is clear to see. They have rescued vulnerable people off the streets and set them on a path to a positive future of productive happiness. I hope this award goes some way to show them how much of a difference they have made in this community”.

After receiving the crystal award and certificate from the HM Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset,

Emily McCarron, the Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of The Bus Shelter Dorset, said, “Without our volunteers The Bus Shelter Dorset would not be where it is today and I am truly gratefully to each and every one who has shared our vision and supported the charity and our guests by gifting their precious time, skills and knowledge in so many ways over the years.  Our staff and volunteers go above and beyond to provide compassionate care and support to our guests and The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services is a well-deserved recognition of their invaluable contributions and the significance of their role in our community.”

One of the founding trustees, Liz, told us how she worked with Emily and two other trustees to get the project off the ground, “Many hours were spent around Emily and Ed’s kitchen table, planning. The thing we thought was going to be very difficult turned out to be very easy and that was getting a bus. We phoned Damory and asked how you go about getting a bus. They said, “When do you want it.” One of our trustees, husband Rich, took six months off work and fitted the bus out for us voluntarily. The difficult thing was finding somewhere to put the bus! We spent hours and hours in meetings but we didn’t give up and once the bus was done, suddenly, it was all up and running with guests starting their journey with us.

It’s just so fantastic to come here today and see all that’s been achieved and the good work that’s being done. The bus is carrying forward with the basic principles we set out all that time ago. Which was how they should be treated and the time and respect they should be given to actually start to put their lives back on track.”

Equivalent to an MBE, The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. It is the highest and most prestigious award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK.
At The Bus Shelter Dorset, volunteers play a crucial role in helping local individuals who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. With their time, skills, and energy, volunteers support guests throughout their journey with The Bus Shelter Dorset services. The journey begins at the charity’s 12 self-contained accommodation units, which are complemented by a large communal kitchen, dining, and lounge area. Here, guests and volunteers come together to prepare and enjoy meals, fostering a sense of community. Moreover, a variety of activities are available to guests, such as boxing, allotment work, walks, cooking, animal therapy, and training courses. These activities, along with the “Next Stop” move-on service available to guests, offer a meaningful use of time, skills development, and improved confidence.
The ‘Next Stop’ service continues the ethos of The Bus Shelter, working with guests when they move on into their own accommodation (whether that is through private rented, social housing or properties they offer) with 24/7 on-call support from the team when needed. The Next Stop offers tenancy sustainment through weekly visits, advocacy, friendship and guidance.

Rosemary, volunteer and Chair Of The Trustees at the charity, tells us more about Emily, “Emily’s drive energy, determination and at times outright stubbornness has gotten us where we are today. Without Emily and the volunteers, The Bus Shelter Dorset would not be where it is.

We all owe her and those committed, hardworking volunteers a huge debt of gratitude for their non-judgemental care and support they give to the guests in this amazing community environment they have all helped created, cultivate and grow”.

The efforts of the volunteers at The Bus Shelter Dorset and other volunteers across the UK serve as a powerful reminder of the countless ways in which dedicated individuals are making a positive impact in their local communities. Through their tireless work, these volunteers are enhancing the lives of those around them and helping to create a brighter future for all. We are inspired by their selflessness and commitment to making a difference.

If you would like further information or to learn how to support the work of The Bus Shelter Dorset by volunteering or with a donation or supplies, please email Emily McCarron at thebusshelterdorset@gmail.com.

Photo 1 – Emily McCarron, The HM Lord-Lieutenant Of Dorset, Angus Campbell Esq, Volunteers and Guests Past & Present Outside The Original Bus Shelter
The Bus Shelter Dorset
Registered charity number 1171882
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