Community reporters from the UK’s first older people’s led newsroom has been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The team of volunteers which run the Greater Manchester-based news platform Talking About My Generation create news stories, videos and podcasts every month covering news, views and nostalgia – all while challenging ageist stereotypes.
Christine Duffin, volunteer Trafford reporter, said: “I am over the moon that we have received this award. I have been on the team since the start of the project and have loved watching it grow with all of our hard work and dedication. We are all so proud of being the first UK’s older people-led news team.
“We have all learnt something new or have refreshed an old skill or interest whilst volunteering and have all made great friends in the process. I can’t wait to see how big our community can get and continue to change the record on growing older in Greater Manchester and share stories that challenge ageing stereotypes.
“And it is made even more special to receive this award in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year.”
Stories the community reporters cover range from national issues like fuel poverty and effects of the pandemic on mental health, to looking back at childhood memories, podcasts with actors and authors, sports reports, video vox pops at conferences and Pride events and reviews of vegan restaurants or gigs.
The volunteers are one of 244 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year – the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE.
They will receive an award crystal and two members of the news team will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2023.
Trafford resident Kirsty Day, Media Director of social enterprise Yellow Jigsaw, which manages the Talking About My Generation project, said: “I am so chuffed at this announcement. It is well deserved. This team of volunteers first got together in 2019 and have gone from strength to strength – with their dedication to reporting never waning through the pandemic.
“Some joined the team having never listened to a podcast, been in front of a camera, written a news report or had the confidence to speak at a conference and now they have all the skills of any regional news team, and thrive in this environment, so much so they are now training up new volunteer community reporters so they continue to grow and give a voice to older people across Greater Manchester – showing they are valuable not vulnerable.”
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.