Photo shows, left to right: Rachel Thomson (Community Centre Manager), Cllr Geoff Brodie (Hon. Treasurer) and Laura Byrne (Chair of trustees)

Pan Together community charity in Newport is immensely proud to have been awarded today (2nd June 2022) the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS).   This is the highest award that a voluntary group can receive in the UK and is the equivalent of an individual being awarded an MBE.

Founded in 2007 by local Isle of Wight Cllr Geoff Brodie as a membership-based, community support organisation, Pan Together has grown from strength to strength in recent years. Securing charitable status in 2018 it received a National Lottery Community Fund grant in 2019 that allowed it to recruit Rachel Thomson as the manager at its home of Downside Community Centre. 

The onset of the Covid pandemic in an area with many existing challenges saw Rachel and her team of volunteers and two part-time staff rise to the next challenge. Everybody’s hard work and commitment is recognised by this award.

Cllr Geoff Brodie, trustee and treasurer, said, “Pan Together is one of my proudest achievements over the last 17 years and I am delighted for everyone involved with this award. They all deserve it so much. They have often stepped in to help people where the statutory authorities have failed them.”

Chair of trustees, Laura Byrne (born and bred in Pan) said, “We are absolutely over the moon to receive this amazing recognition for Pan Together, which we would never have dreamed of.  Huge thanks are due to our volunteers – young, old and in all their diversity – for everything they do to support struggling and vulnerable local people”.

Rachel Thomson, Manager, said, “I am incredibly proud that Pan Together’s amazing work in our local community has been recognised.  The charity really does make a positive difference to so many people’s lives in so many different ways.  This is a real accolade and having such a seal of approval for our work is just lovely for everybody involved”.