Helpforce CEO, Mark Lever, awarded OBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours

12th June 2021

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An OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) has been awarded to Mark Lever, Chief Executive at Helpforce, for his services to volunteering during COVID-19.

Mark’s award was included in the HM Queen’s Birthday honours list for 2021, published on 12th June.

Mark has been recognised for his extraordinary effort in rallying individuals and organisations to come together to provide much needed support to the NHS throughout the pandemic. He and the team at Helpforce ran the Helpforce Assist programme that worked with over 50 organisations to help distribute millions of hot meals, drinks, care packages, toys and books to NHS staff and patients during the first wave of the pandemic.

Under his leadership, the charity was able to provide rapid support to help volunteering services in the NHS to respond to Covid-19, such as organising online events to help NHS Trusts’ volunteering services across the country to connect and share updates, or developing tools and support packages to help trusts mobilise volunteers for the right purpose, at the right time, and in the right place. As a result, 11,000 patients received support from volunteers across the country.

Commenting on his OBE, Mark said: “I’m delighted to receive this award, not only for me, but also for Helpforce, as this is a recognition for the whole team too.

“This is also a wonderful recognition for the vital role of volunteers in health and care. They are truly the backbone of our country. Thanks to those selfless, kind, and compassionate volunteers, many vulnerable patients were still able to access the right support from home or in hospital during the pandemic. And right now, we know that volunteers are playing an important role in the NHS’s recovery plan.

“This recognition definitely gives me the confidence that we are on the right track with our mission, to accelerate the growth and impact of volunteering in health and care. The pandemic has inspired many more people to want to volunteer, but there is still not enough infrastructure and support in place to ensure people can have meaningful volunteering opportunities. That’s why at Helpforce, we are bringing senior health and social leaders together to help them build volunteering into their service design and inspire others to do the same. There is still much to be done and I’m so excited to lead the team to continue to achieve this ambition.”

Mark is a Chartered Accountant with a Cranfield MBA. The first 13 years of his career were spent training and practising as a Chartered Accountant, he then decided to leave the world of finance and move into the third sector – a decision he has not regretted for a single minute of his 25 + years in the sector. During this time, he has been Chief Executive of the WRVS and the National Autistic Society.

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