Not for Profit

Queen honours the work of two of Gloucestershire’s true community champions

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 12 October 2020 7:48

Queen honours the work of two of Gloucestershire’s true community champions

The chief executive and chairman of two of Gloucestershire’s best-loved charities have been recognised for their hard work and dogged determination to make a difference. 

Cordell Ray, ceo of the charity Caring for Communities and People (CCP) appointed as a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in Queen’s Birthday Honours List. 

And Julie Kent, vice-chairman of the Pied Piper Appeal, has been awarded an MBE for her work helping drive hundreds of thousands of pounds for the charity which looks after sick and disabled children in the county.


Pictured: Julie Kent picking up a Believe in Gloucester award in 2017 for the Best Community Event for the popular Gloucestershire Motor Show

Mr Ray said: “When I heard that I was to receive this award, I was in total shock. I also felt tremendously honoured. 

I have heard it said before, but this is undoubtedly a case of the award not being just for me but more a case of being for each and every member of staff and volunteer at CCP, and recognition of the fantastic work they do in the community.  

“I am immensely proud to be leading this organisation and of what we achieve, making a difference to peoples’ lives day in day out. 

The way in which we continued to do this during the first spike of COVID was quite remarkable, as was how we responded to increased demand for emergency food parcels when people were most in need.  

“I very much hope that this award will help make even more people aware of the vital work we do in the community and potentially result in more individuals and organisations wanting to support us. That really would be a tremendous outcome.

Picture by Thousand Word Media

“When I look back and think about myself as a young person, to get where I am today and receiving this award is all the more remarkable. It is fair to say I was a bit wayward back then. 

I left school with a pretty negative attitude towards life, got into trouble and totally lacked a sense of purpose and direction. It took me until I was 23 to seriously ask myself where is my life going?’. 

“I was in a job I didn’t really enjoy (actually I was working three jobs to make ends meet), had no qualifications and had the dawning realisation that I was going nowhere fast. 

“That awakening eventually resulted in me gaining a BA Honours Degree in Social & Community Studies and the start of my life working in charity. I have never looked back. 

“I hope that young people who are feeling now as I did then, will hear my story and recognise there is always a way to turn things round”. 

Mr Ray joined CCP in 1999 to set up a project for young people at risk of exclusion from mainstream education. 

He progressed to manage the Family Support Service before becoming operations director and then chief executive officer in 2007. 

Mr Ray is also a director of the Child & Family Learning Trust and chair of governors of Gardners’ Lane and Oakwood Federation, which manages seven children centres and two primary schools across the Cheltenham locality. 

He is also chair of the Gloucestershire VCS Alliance, an independent charitable organisation working to strengthen the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) in the county.  

CCP have been preventing homelessness, strengthening families and promoting independence since 1989. CCP exists to improve the lives of children, young people, families and vulnerable adults with multiple and complex needs.

Julie Kent works with a number of charities. As well as being vice-chairman of the Pied Piper Appeal she is junior warden of the Honourable Company of Gloucestershire, chairman of Cheltenham Open Door and an ambassador/trustee of Goals beyond Grass.

In 1995 she and her husband lost their three-year-old daugher to a brain tumour. Mrs Kent, who had been a music teacher at Dean Close School, Cheltenham, for 30 years, set up the The Emily Kent Charitable Trust in her memory.

First published on Saturday, October 10