Cambridgeshire police officer and community champion receives BEM in Queen’s Birthday Honours List
Designing Out Crime Officer and Ramsey community champion Carol Aston has been awarded a British Empire medal (BEM) in the Queen’s Birthday honours list.
The BEM is awarded to volunteers for their ‘hands-on’ service to the local community.
Carol (66) has been honoured for services to Policing and the community in Ramsey during the Covid-19 pandemic.
She first joined the Police in 2005 and spent time as a Crime Prevention Officer in Peterborough before moving onto her current role as a Designing Out Crime Officer within Cambridgeshire Police.
In her role, she has spent many years on community-focused projects such as establishing age concern groups, Neighbourhood Watch initiatives, youth clubs, community groups and Safer Street campaigns. This is alongside working closely with developers and communities to cut down on crime.
Between 2013 and January this year, Carol also chaired the Ramsey Neighbourhoods Trust (RNT). She has overseen a growth in the organisation from having no staff and a small board of trustees to having 16 employees, running community activities for all age groups.
These range from toddler groups, to youth clubs, community music festivals, family fun days, free community workshops and a job club. RNT now has over 70 volunteers and works with over 60 voluntary groups and statutory bodies and is widely recognised as a very effective community support funding organisation, which improves the lives of residents in Ramsey.
When lockdown began, she led her team in setting up ‘Ramsey Area Covid-19 support.’ The group and its team of around 60 volunteers did everything from collecting prescriptions, cutting grass and doing food runs for vulnerable residents in Ramsey. RNT was one of the first organisations to be granted ‘Recognised Covid-19 Organisation’ status in Huntingdonshire.
During the pandemic, RNT also continued to run its clubs for children and adults with additional needs online, providing activity packs to those in isolation and ensuring that there was always someone on the end of a phone for those who are vulnerable, lonely or scared.
Carol said: “I was absolutely stunned when I heard the news.
“All of the work I’ve been doing over the years has been for local people, so it has been very special. When lockdown started we were doing everything from prescription runs, helping out with gardening and running orders to and from people’s houses to the fish and chip van.
“We had such an amazing response and there were so many people that were working their socks off.
“In my day job, I’ve spent so much time helping people and preventing them from falling victim to crime, so I was determined to make sure they didn’t fall victim to someone else. It was great to be able to use my knowledge from my dayjob to help the community, I’m chuffed to bits about receiving this award.”