A GROUP helping refugees resettled in the Wee County and wider area has this week received the highest possible volunteering award in the UK.

Forth Valley Welcome has been honoured with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service after the official list was revealed yesterday.

The group of volunteers who support refugees around Clackmannanshire and Stirling have been helping families in a wide variety of ways.

This includes home visits, support in learning English, organising events and by supplying material needs like furniture, clothes or kitchen equipment.

Formerly known as Stirling Citizens for Sanctuary, Forth Valley Welcome is one of 230 good causes across the UK to receive the prestigious award along with local Breathe Easy Clackmannanshire.

Save Maharaj, chair of Forth Valley Welcome, said: "We were very surprised and absolutely delighted to receive this prestigious award.

"Our organisation started because of a small group of volunteers who were passionate about supporting and welcoming refugees into our area.

"We currently have around 75 volunteers and it's really hard to put into words the incredible contribution they make to the organisation and their commitment to the families we support.

"We literally could not do it without them and it great to see them recognised in this way."

Two volunteers from Forth Valley Welcome will be invited to attend a garden party organised by the queen at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in July 2021.

The award recognises the outstanding contribution of the groups and Forth Valley Welcome will receive theirs from Stirling and Falkirk Lord Lieutenant Alan Simpson.

While it has its roots in the nearby area, the group has been active in Clackmannanshire for years, working closely with local authorities.

And indeed, the good cause was rebranded in 2018 to reflect on the increasing number of Wee County volunteers and the growing number of local families it worked with.

The volunteers have been working to make sure refugees coming to Clacks and nearby areas feel more at home.

Figures highlighted last year at Clackmannanshire Council showed that when it comes to comparing the number of refugees taken in compared to the population, the Wee County is in the top five of local authorities in the whole of the UK.