On Friday 24th March, Patron of Lattitude Global Volunteering, HRH The Princess Royal, visited Lattitude volunteers at QEF Dorincourt residential centre. Princess Anne shook hands and spoke with Lattitude volunteers from Canada, Ecuador, New Zealand and the USA who have been volunteering at QEF caring placements in the UK.
Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People is a UK charity based in Surrey that helps people with complex disabilities to acquire key life skills and greater independence. QEF hosts Lattitude volunteers at both their Dorincourt residential centre and Banstead Place neuro-rehabilitation centre. Volunteers help with a range of different activities; at Dorincourt, Lattitude volunteers help young people to develop key skills needed for a more independent way of living, ranging from shopping and cooking to money management and telephone skills. Lattitude volunteers at Banstead Place rotate around all departments at the centre (mostly within the physiotherapy, occupational therapy, art & design and recreation departments), helping young people who have acquired a traumatic brain injury as a result of accident or illness.
During her visit, The Princess Royal received a tour around the Dorincourt centre where she had the opportunity to see some of the Lattitude volunteers in action working with the residents in various different parts of the facility. Lattitude CEO, Joanne Smithson commented: “the volunteers made us all proud – they were relaxed, spoke confidently with The Princess about the work they’re involved in. They commented on how their experience at QEF has affected their outlook on life, their aspirations for future study and work and their understanding of their own strengths and talents. The staff at QEF were unanimous in their praise of the volunteers, and of the longstanding partnership with Lattitude – they enjoy hosting these young people, value their contribution, and provide them much support, training and encouragement along the way”.
After the tour, HRH met with many more of the residents, Lattitude volunteers, staff and winner of this year’s Adrian Evans Award, Zoe Lewis. Zoe was presented with her award by HRH The Princess Royal in recognition of her commitment to the Zoe Development Foundation – a community development organisation in Ghana which works to support locally led initiatives. Well done Zoe for all your hard work and this fantastic achievement!
Finally, The Princess Royal unveiled a plaque to mark the opening of the new Infozone – an IT facility offering computers that can be controlled using accessible methods such as an Eyegaze eye-movement tracking sensor. Overall, the event was a huge success and a great opportunity for our Lattitude volunteers at QEF caring placements to show off all of their hard work!