Queen's Birthday Honours for Invicta chair and DAVSS
13th June 2019
THE chief executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, Jo James, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Mrs James, a prominent business campaigner, received the award for her services to the Kent economy.
She chaired the panel of judges at last month’s Times Business Awards and co-hosted the event at Salomons in Tunbridge Wells for the fourth year in a row.
“To receive an award for doing a job I love and representing such a dynamic and diverse business community is a massive honour,” she said.
“What the team at the Chamber continues to achieve for our members and Patrons is amazing and I’d like to share this award with every one of them.”
During 29 years at the Chamber of Commerce, Mrs James and her team of 26 have supported businesses with large events programme, representation, international trade advice, and the South East Business Boost programme.
She said: “Keeping it a secret for five weeks was hard in one way, as I wanted to tell everyone but easy in another, as until I saw it officially in print, I didn’t quite believe it.
“What I have found the best is not just receiving the award, which is just unbelievable, but the hundreds of wonderful messages I have received from businesses around the region.”
She continued: “Like so many other people I go about doing my job and you do it the best you can and it’s so gratifying that your efforts are rewarded, and in such a remarkable way, is beyond all expectations.
“I’ve been able to do a job I really enjoy and it’s good I’ve been able to have a positive impact.”
Tunbridge Wells’ charity, DAVSS [Domestic Abuse Victim Support Service] were honoured with a Queens Award for Voluntary Service.
Henu Cummins, chief executive for the charity, which provides support to both male and female victims of domestic abuse across West Kent, said: “We have around 60 volunteers and it is a recognition of all their hard work.
“It is the highest accolade given to volunteer organisations so we are incredibly proud to have received it.”
Despite receiving the award, DAVSS, which has been providing emotional support, practical advice and legal services to victims of domestic abuse since 2011, does face challenges.
“We have grown so rapidly,” said Ms Cummins. “We’ve gone from helping a handful of people, to last year, seeing more than 700 clients and around 1,000 children in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Sevenoaks.
“That is not to say domestic violence is a particular issue in this area, it is in line with national figures, but more light is being shone on the problem.”
However, she says the charity is desperately seeking a new home as their current location, which is confidential due to the nature of their work, can no longer house them.
“We need a new premises with office space for around 20 people and ideally a meeting room and support space for our clients.”
She said anybody that thinks they might be able to help or who wishes to donate to DAVSS, should contact the charity by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01892 502074.
Anybody requiring help to deal with issues of domestic abuse can call the charity’s confidential helpline on: 01892 570538