Top honour for charity hero

Karen Williams received an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list

Sutton-based Karen awarded OBE for helping children fleeing domestic violence

The founder of a Sutton Coldfield-based charity, that helps children fleeing domestic violence has been formally presented with her OBE by the Princess Royal.

Karen Williams, founder of the Buddy Bag Foundation, was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list in 2021 for services to the victims of domestic violence.

She said: “Karen said: “On receiving the news that I was to be awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list I was both shocked and surprised, then as it sunk in honoured and extremely grateful.

“I will be forever indebted to my parents who taught me that if something is worth achieving then it is worth working for, as well as the importance of focus and positivity.”

Buddy Bag Foundation co-founder Chris Williams added: “We are delighted to see Karen get this award. Everyone at the charity is so proud of all her achievements and to be recognised in this way is fantastic as she has always been extremely dedicated to helping others.”

Achieving something special

Karen collected her award on 9 February in a ceremony at Windsor Castle.  She said: “Receiving this accolade has been an absolute privilege. My dream six years ago was to set up a charity that could and would make a real and meaningful difference to children in emergency care.

“With the assistance and support of all our volunteers we have realised this dream.

“Thank you to all our volunteers and supporters. Together we have achieved and are continuing to achieve something truly special.”

The charity is now based in Minworth near Sutton Coldfield.

The Buddy Bag Foundation provides a bag of essential items to children who find themselves in emergency accommodation after fleeing domestic violence. Often, they are forced to leave home in a rush and arrive at the accommodation with none of their belongings. Since the charity began in 2015, 100 percent of the donations have been given to the children.

In December 2021 the foundation’s team of volunteers celebrated as they passed the milestone of packing over 40,000 Buddy Bags.

Karen said: “This achievement far exceeded our initial target; we can now look to the future with optimism at the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

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