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Her Majesty the Queen recognises our Chief Officer in Birthday Honours

On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Denby Dale Centre, I am delighted to announce that our Chief Officer, Paul Jones, has been approved by Her Majesty the Queen, following a recommendation by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to be appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire; may we be the first to congratulate Paul Jones MBE on his thoroughly deserved award.

The honour, bestowed to Paul, is for his services to older people and the community, in Kirklees.

In May 2016, Paul joined our team at the Denby Dale Centre, a charity which aims to connect people, and has led and grown our team as we have restructured operations and developed new projects.

Paul, who lives in Salendine Nook, has constantly volunteered within the community since 1983, and presently is a volunteer with @UKScouting, @Girlguiding, Lindley Methodist Church and the @YorksAmbulance Service. He has been employed in the community sector for over 13 years, specialising in #communitytransport, and since joining the Denby Dale Centre has included work within older people services. Paul is a Community Transport and Community Projects Consultant, working closely with @SEEAhead1, sharing his knowledge and experiences to benefit other community organisations.

The honour accorded to Paul followed a selfless six months of continuous support to the wider community, propelling our charity, the Denby Dale Centre, into the forefront of a Kirklees wide community response to the Covid 19 pandemic. Through Paul’s actions, people who were self-isolating or shielding in every district within #Kirklees, were offered a shopping delivery service that was set up for a much larger number of people than actually came forward for help; this service empowered the delivery of over 1,000 shopping trips to people in #NorthKirklees, across #Huddersfield and the rural districts. This service was only made possible by Paul’s openness to working with and supporting other Community Anchors and the Mutual Aid Groups that they worked with locally.

Paul managed to deliver the first project within 48 hours of @KirkleesCouncil giving the project idea, of full #collaboration between council and community, a green light; delivering the first shopping to the first customer on 19 March, four days prior to #lockdown on 23 March.

Throughout the pandemic, Paul led the team of 12 staff at the Denby Dale Centre to deliver 12 services in rural Kirklees, included the Shopping Service, Click and Collect, Prescription Delivery, Dog Walking, Chatterbox phone-buddies, Volunteer Car Service, three Food Fund projects, Volunteering, Distance Learning Training Centre and the much used Customer Phone Line.

Paul and his team have worked very hard and flexibly to meet the needs of the people. Paul worked himself into the ground, evolving the projects to deliver what people required, and introducing new projects to meet the changing needs as the situation evolved. The trustees know how hard he works, and feel that that pace continues today, as other projects within the Denby Dale Centre emerge to offer further services beyond the 12 original Covid-response services, including re-opening our charity shop, community centre, resuming minibus hire and shopper bus, establishing new dementia services and an additional charity shop. Paul is presently supporting numerous other community organisations to reopen for business, within #CovidSecure protocols.

Our Chief Officer is also a Mountain Leader and has nearly two decades of experience delivering training, supervision and assessment for @DofE Award expeditions for young people throughout the north of England working both as a volunteer and as a Freelance Outdoor Instructor.

We know Paul is never happier than being with his family, and amazingly has worked with a two and five year old at home throughout lockdown. We now feel the sacrifice of that time to meet the needs of others has been recognised and rewarded. When Paul was informed he had been recommended for this honour by the Prime Minister, he said to his wife, Angela, “…but so many other people have done so much, and worked so hard, why me?…”. Angela was quick to remind her husband of his attitude, continuous work and commitment to the more vulnerable in society, for which the honour is given. We are indebted to Angela for her continuing support to Paul allowing him to develop his ideas to the benefit of all.

Additional honours were added to the number usually put forward to be included in the Queens Birthday Honours List, delayed from June, so that those who have contributed to the national Coronavirus Response could be celebrated as exemplars of the wide range of exceptional community and front-line service given across the country.

The trustees expressed to Paul, and his family, their warmest congratulations for his honour, and thank him for his leadership of the Denby Dale Centre as it works to fulfil its aim to help and support local people.

Jeanette Lodge, Chairman of Board of Trustees, of the Denby Dale Centre

@LDRtony @RichardStead @CTAUK1 @TSLkirklees @kirkleescomplus @NHSghCCG @NHSnkCCG @calderdaleCCG @locala @localitynews

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