Queen awards ‘ecstatic’ Northampton Indian Hindu Welfare group for voluntary services

The organisation has been recognised with the highest award for volunteers in the UK after working to enrich the lives of Hindus in Northampton for 26 years

By Megan Hillery
Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 8:15 am

The Northampton Indian Hindu Welfare organisation (IHWO) has been presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The group was given the award by the Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, James Saunders Watson, in a ceremony at the Weston Favell Parish Hall on Sunday, April 10.

Chairwoman and co-founder of Northampton IHWO, Neelam Aggarwal-Singh MBE DL JP, said: “It was an amazing day and so good to see so many happy and smiling faces.

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Northampton Indian Hindu Welfare organisation receives the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. Photo by Ketan Photography.

“It was humbling to see volunteers who have been involved in the life of the IHWO in the last 26 years.”

The IHWO has been recognised with the highest award for volunteers in the UK after providing advice, running events and fighting for welfare needs in Northampton for more than 25 years.

Their volunteer work includes lighting up the town centre every year with its annual Diwali celebrations as well as the group’s landmark project to build a multi-million pound Hindu Temple and Community Centre.

Ms Aggarwall-Singh described how the organisation were active in the community throughout the pandemic, supporting university students and elderly people, who felt vulnerable.

Northampton IHWO found out they would be receiving the award in June 2021 but pushed the ceremony back to this year so that Covid restrictions would not prevent all volunteers from attending.

There were around 55 volunteers present at the ceremony, where they received a special badge for their services to the community.

Ms Aggarwal-Singh said volunteers were “ecstatic” to receive the highest honour bestowed upon UK charities.

She added: “Without the hard work, dedication and commitment of our volunteers, it just would not be possible to achieve the progress IHWO has achieved in the short space of time and I am very grateful to each and every volunteer who continues to dedicate their time and commitment to progress the project.”

Volunteers, Rupal Shah and Surendra Malhotra, have been nominated to represent Northampton IHWO at a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May.

Northampton IHWO is currently planning a picnic to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on Saturday, June 4 at the Weston Favell Parish Hall.

For more information about the organisation and their activities, visit https://www.ihwo.org.uk/.