Wolverhampton wheelchair charity POWER PLEAS is today honoured to receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The QAVS is given to voluntary groups carrying out work that:
- provides a service and meets a need for people living in the local community.
- is supported, recognised and respected by the local community and the people who benefit from it.
- is run locally.
POWER PLEAS was set up in 1987 at a meeting at Colton Hills School, Wolverhampton and is completely run by a voluntary committee of parents, recipients, health and education professionals. The charity has provided powered wheelchairs and other mobility aids for young people in the Wolverhampton area.
The needs of the children are identified by the health professionals on the committee such as Dr. Deepak Kalra, a Paediatrician (now retired) from New Cross Hospital, Pat Escott, a local physiotherapist, and Debbie Jenkins, an occupational therapist. The current management group is completed by people also with ‘WV’ postcodes – Dave Parry, Headteacher of Penn Hall School, John Woulfe, who works in IT at Penn Hall, Peter Taylor, retired accountant, Paula and Mike Davies, parents of a former wheelchair recipient, and Darren Langston, a wheelchair user.
POWER PLEAS has benefited particularly from local support via the flourishing partnership with Tettenhall Rotary Club and Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club, which has seen 20 annual pre-match charity collections held at Molineux. Tettenhall Rotary Club, represented throughout by Eric Johnson since 1994, has organised the collections annually supported by POWER PLEAS members and recipients. Thanks are due also to the Wolves’ Vice-President Baroness Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, who initiated these collections and has supported them over the years. Over £65,000 has been received by POWER PLEAS from these collections and connected gifts, and in the most recent, which took place prior to the match with Rotherham in April, the figure was match-funded by the Wolves Aid charity to realise £5,000. As a result of the fundraising, and generosity of Wolves supporters for the last two decades, a total of 20 wheelchairs have been donated to local young people, which amounts to a fifth of the total number of wheelchairs the charity has financed.
Deepak, Pat, Paula and Mike have been chosen to represent the Charity at a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday 3 June. POWER PLEAS will receive an engraved Crystal Dome and a signed certificate from the Queen on an occasion to be announced.
Keith Berry, Chairman of POWER PLEAS, said: “We are all very proud to be receiving this Award and thrilled for all the people who have given of their time and made donations over the past 27 years.
“There are so many people we would like to thank, including Rachael Heyhoe-Flint and everyone at Wolves, and Eric Johnson and all at Tettenhall Rotary Club, for their unstinting support, also our voluntary webmaster, Phil Knight.
“Every one of the wheelchairs we have donated has made a massive difference to the life of a young person, and there are so many wonderful stories behind the generosity which has been shown.
“The very first recipient of a wheelchair from a Wolves collection 20 years ago was Darren Langston, who suffers from severe cerebral palsy. Darren, now 39, is a staunch Wolves supporter who is now a member of the POWER PLEAS committee and has helped to collect at almost all of our collections.
“As Paula and Mike’s son Michael Davies said, in the years before he passed away at the age of 18, POWER PLEAS has given me back my legs.
“Long may that continue to happen for local children.”