Holocaust Centre North awarded prestigious King Charles award for contributions to volunteering

The Centre was one of 262 local charities across the UK to be recognised this year


Dr Alessandro Bucci (left) with Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire Ed Anderson CBE (centre), Jenny Kagan (second from right) and Holocaust survivors receiving the King's Award for Voluntary Service at the Holocaust Centre North (Credit: Courtesy)

The Holocaust Centre North has been recognised by HM King Charles with the prestigious Kavs (King’s Award for Voluntary Service) Award this year.

Holocaust Centre North, founded by survivors and their descendants as the Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association (HSFA) in 1996, is one of 262 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to have been given the esteemed award this year, and one of only 29 based in Yorkshire.

Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire Ed Anderson CBE presented the award, which recognises outstanding contributions of volunteer groups across the UK, to the Centre during an in-person ceremony on Thursday.

Centre director Dr Alessandro Bucci accepted the award on behalf of Holocaust Centre North in the presence of charity trustees, supporters, guests, its volunteer community and Shoah survivors.

Bucci said: “We are really thrilled that the tireless work of our remarkable volunteers has been recognised with this prestigious honour. The volunteer community is an essential part of what we are about, and this award highlights their commitment and vital contribution to our work. The vital work that we do at the centre to ensure that history is preserved and passed down the generations could not be done as effectively were it not for their time.”

The centre’s founders and over 50 regular volunteers work both remotely and on-site to participate in a diverse range of projects and activities, including welcoming guests to the centre, being involved in its day-to-day running and preserving and bringing to life the centre’s collection via its team of volunteer archivists.

Volunteers also arrange for first-hand testimonies to be shared in schools and community groups, to not only tell the global story of the Holocaust but to do so through local stories from those who subsequently created new lives in the north of England.

Additional speeches were made on Thursday by Lord Lieutenant Anderson, the Centre’s chair and artist Jenny Kagan, High Sheriff of West Yorkshire Professor Adeeba Malik CBE DL and long serving volunteer Michael Sharp.

Martin Kapel BEM, 93, who arrived in the UK on the Kindertransport and gives talks to schools in a voluntary capacity on behalf of the centre, said receiving the award was a “profound honour that validates the efforts of every volunteer”.

He added, “It’s a tribute to the spirit of service over self, and to me personally, it’s an affirmation that every small act of kindness contributes to a legacy of change.”

"I and other survivors of the Holocaust gather around Holocaust Centre North because we believe that by sharing our stories of persecution, the world can grow more compassionate. This award is a celebration of community strength.”

The Kavs Award, created in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee and formerly called the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service , is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK, equivalent to an MBE. 

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