Community campaign group Stroud District Action on Plastic were today presented with Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The award was presented by Edward Gillespie, the Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire at the Trinity Rooms in Stroud.
The award is the highest given to volunteer groups across the UK and recognises outstanding work done across the Stroud District in tackling plastic pollution. The award was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of The Queen’s coronation and is the MBE for volunteer groups.
Since being founded in 2017, Stroud District Action on Plastic has reduced the use of unnecessary plastic across the district. In the first few years the group brought over 200 businesses and local organisations into the Refill Stroud campaign, to create a network of places people could eat, drink and shop with less plastic packaging.
In 2019 they worked closely with Stroud Town Council to install the first water fountain in Bank Gardens – enabling people to refill water bottles without needing to buy expensive single-use plastic bottles. In 2020, the Stroud district was awarded ‘Plastic Free Community’ status by the marine charity Surfers Against Sewage, following the group’s work with councils, businesses, schools, community allies and individuals to reduce the use of single-use plastic.
Most recently, they have created an acclaimed web platform that acts as an information and inspiration hub on how residents can reduce their plastic footprint.
Commenting on receiving the award, Claudi Williams, Chair of Stroud District Action on Plastic, said: “It’s an honour to have been presented with this award today. It’s a reflection on the many volunteers that have dedicated countless hours into making our group a success. The results now speak for themselves; we have local businesses eliminating plastics from their supply chain, residents empowered to reduce their own plastic footprint and, crucially, all of the resources and information to act as the foundation for future campaigns and action.
“We’ve achieved so much, but we still have so much more to do. In the coming months we are going to be working with some of the biggest employers in the Stroud district to help them reduce the plastics in their supply chain. We are also teaming up with one of the top academic institutions in the country to research local shopping habits and plastic consumption. There is a lot to do and if anyone wants to get involved, we are always looking for people to volunteer and get involved.
People interested in volunteering can contact Stroud District Action on Plastic by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and anyone is welcome to sign up for the group’s newsletter on their website: www.actiononplastic.org.
Lord-Lieutenant Edward Gillespie said: “Gloucestershire is rightly proud of the volume of volunteering that adds significantly to the quality of life across the county. Receiving a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is a tremendous accolade. Stroud District Action on Plastic is clearly delivering an outstanding experience for volunteers and bringing positive impact to the local community. Their integration with the Council and other partnerships demonstrate their ambition to extend their sphere of influence within the District and far beyond. It was a honour to represent Her Majesty when making the presentation and I wish them all possible success in the future.”
Cllr Catherine Braun, Leader of Stroud District Council added: “Stroud District Council has worked closely with Stroud District Action on Plastic and are proud of what we’ve achieved. In 2018 I introduced a plastic-free motion to council and since then we’ve gone from strength to strength in tackling plastics in our own operations, but our real strength is in partnership working with community groups and few do this better than Stroud District Action on Plastic. When we work together we achieve so much and this is reflected in the highest honour of the Queen’s Award presented today.”