Mellor Country House, the charity that offers holidays for those most in need, has received a Queen’s Awards for Voluntary Service, the equivalent of getting an MBE. Chair of the charity, Margaret Powell, and house manager, Sharon Adamson, were invited to Buckingham Palace to a royal garden party to celebrate their organisation’s achievement.
Mellor Country House close to Marple hosts approximately 650 people a year and up to half are children. Anyone on low income and in desperate need of a break who would otherwise not be able to afford one is welcome to book at the house, which can accommodate up to 26 people in 12 bedrooms, including a disabled suite with spa bath, at any one time. People can stay up to seven nights for as little as £12 per night for adults and £6.50 for children on a self-catering basis.
Completely self-funding and with only one paid member of staff, the charity is run by an army of more than 40 volunteers. On receiving the award Margaret Powell (below left) said: “We’re really proud to receive this award and it’s fantastic recognition for all the time and hard work our volunteers give us to ensure this house so welcoming for our guests. Mellor Country House is a very special place and it’s our shared passion for it which drives us, we really make a huge difference to people’s lives. As Lord Hallam Tennyson, eldest son of the renowned poet, said at the opening of the house in 1907, he hoped “a blessing would fall on this house of rest which would invigorate not only the flagging pulse but send the light of day into a darkened heart”.
Sharon Adamson (above right), who has been Mellor Country House’s house manager for more than 20 years added: In all this time the charity has not changed its ethos and, this wish still rings true today. There’s an increasing number of people in Greater Manchester who cannot afford to put food on the table let alone have a holiday. We provide a restful, relaxing and recreational retreat for some of the region’s most vulnerable people. The historic home offers a safe, secure and uplifting environment in a stunning location. The holidays promote health and well-being and can have a lasting impact on people’s lives. While children play, parents interact and share their experiences, knowledge and sometimes even their food. This helps them to solve problems, gives them respite from often a chaotic, unstable and stressful life at home and prepares them to cope better with any difficulties that lie ahead. A stay at Mellor Country House can make a real difference to people’s lives. It can help build confidence and engender a renewed sense of purpose.”
The holiday home has continuously offered accommodation for the poor and vulnerable in the wider community for more than 110 years. When the house was opened over 100 years ago, it was designed to be an unpretentious place for working people to rest and restore their health in beautiful surroundings. This has not changed. In addition to the bedrooms, the house also has a disabled suite on the ground floor, a well-equipped shared kitchen, dining room, lounges and children's playroom. The grounds include a secure play area for toddlers, a paved patio with barbecue, and a private lawn area with benches and seating for quiet reflection.
On Wednesday 28th August, the finishing touch to our Royal recognition, ten volunteers attended the Award presentation at the beautiful Monastery in Gorton where 35 charities of Manchester joined together to celebrate. Again an amazing day to hear from the Lord Lieutenants all about the great achievements of the marvellous charity volunteers who help to put the Great into Greater Manchester.
Commenting on Mellor Country House, The Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Warren Smith, said: “This charity is a very worthy recipient. Mellor Country House flings its doors wide open for those most in need in our county. These include individuals and families who are financially and socially disadvantaged, as well as groups with learning difficulties, mental health problems and school children from the most deprived parts of Greater Manchester. They offer a homely retreat tucked away in a beautiful part of the region, right on the edge of the Peak District. With the support of volunteers, I hope they continue to offer this valuable service for another hundred years."
Margaret Powell says "I am so proud to be part of this adventure, thank you to all our volunteers for everything they have achieved".