The charity that operates the Museum of Transport Greater Manchester – a fixture on the region’s tourist trail for over forty years – has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
The Greater Manchester Transport Society was formed in 1970, and since 1979 it has operated the Museum of Transport. The museum tells the story of the region’s road passenger transport and houses over 70 beautifully restored vintage buses and coaches and is a unique partnership between the charity’s volunteers and TfGM, the local government body responsible for delivering Greater Manchester’s transport strategy and commitments.
The Museum is situated in a historic former bus depot in Cheetham, north of the city centre, and helps bring tourism and regeneration to an area of the city with a high level of social deprivation. Meanwhile the Society’s volunteers bring together helpers from all walks of life and has put special focus on supporting people with learning difficulties to be active volunteers.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Winners are announced each year on 2 June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. Representatives of the Society will receive the award from Sir Warren Smith, Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester later this year. Just 230 out of the thousands of charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups across the UK will receive the prestigious award this year
Dennis Talbot, Chairman of the Greater Manchester Transport Society, responded to the news: “Since we opened our doors in 1979 we’ve welcomed over a quarter of a million visitors to see the story of how local transport shaped our region. And it couldn’t have happened without our volunteers, working in partnership with TfGM, building a museum that’s one of the most popular of its kind. Every polished headlamp, every conserved photo and every overhauled vintage bus is there because of the support from our amazing volunteers. We have people from all backgrounds and they all work together to make something that brings enjoyment for families, keeps history alive and gives volunteers the chance to make a contribution to the community.”
Felicity Goodey CBE DL, who led the assessment that led to the award, said: “The Greater Manchester Transport Society’s volunteers have rescued a key part of Britain’s industrial heritage creating a popular award-winning museum. I’m very pleased to have been able to recommend them for this award, which is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities.”
Councillor Mark Aldred, Chair of the Greater Manchester Transport Committee, said: “Preserving and celebrating Greater Manchester’s transport heritage is incredibly important and I speak for the Transport Committee and Transport for Greater Manchester when I say that I’m very proud of the Museum of Transport and its volunteers.
“The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is one of the most prestigious awards that any voluntary group can receive, and we congratulate the Society on being recognised for the work they do. We have supported the Museum for over 40 years, and we look forward to many more years of working together, to tell the next chapters of the story of transport in shaping Greater Manchester.”