The highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK, the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, will be awarded to 241 organisations across the UK today, during this year’s Volunteers Week.
Charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have received the award for delivering exceptional service within their communities over the past year and beyond, from reaching people suffering with dementia through music and song in Gloucestershire, to providing support and friendship to refugees and asylum seekers in Merseyside.
Many adapted their services to respond to the coronavirus outbreak as the voluntary sector continues to play a vital role in the national recovery, and a special designation has been given to 164 of the group for providing impactful support during the initial lockdown.
Minister for Civil Society and Youth, Baroness Barran, will be marking Volunteers’ Week with a series of visits to some of the exceptional organisations carrying out critical work. She commented:
“In these challenging times, charities, social enterprises and their volunteers have been the backbone of local communities.
“Recent research has shown that 99% of people who have volunteered report positive personal benefits, including a sense of purpose, achievement and feeling as though they are making a difference. I hope today’s award inspires people and I encourage everyone to consider how they could volunteer in some way.”
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Independent Committee Chair Sir Martyn Lewis, said:
“There is no finer example of democracy in action than people getting together at a local level to tackle a problem or issue at the heart of their community. This year’s magnificent award winning groups touch virtually every area of need across our society.
“They also highlight the growing and key role which volunteers are playing in times of rapid change and unprecedented challenges. Whether driven by a neighbourly passion to help others or to achieve that well recognised “high” of personal satisfaction, volunteering taps into a rich spirit of generosity, ingenuity and kindness. The Queen’s Award’s judges are proud to honour the achievements of those who help to make our country great.”
Guru Maneyo Granth Gurdwara
Recipients include:Second Wave Centre for Youth Arts in London, which provides a meeting place for young people, diverting them from criminal activity through theatre and writing projects. During the pandemic, they have established a series of small, socially-distanced support groups. Fellrunner Village Bus in Cumbria, a volunteer minibus service for rural communities across Eden District. They provide much-needed access to shops and services for the elderly and isolated. During the pandemic, they provided shopping and collected prescriptions for shielding villagers, and also delivered food parcels. Westhill and District Men’s Shed in Aberdeenshire, which brings men together for friendship, to reduce loneliness and improve mental health. During the pandemic, they used a 3D printer to produce 2700 face shields for care staff. A Safe Space to be Me in County Antrim, which provides mental health support in a rural community. During the pandemic, they delivered 48 laptops for home schooling and provided practical support and financial aid. Barmouth Community First in Gwynedd, which provides a fast response to accidents and emergencies in a rural area until an ambulance arrives. During the pandemic, they have delivered prescriptions to shielded members of the community, and collect essential medical supplies to assist the local pharmacy.Acts of Kindness Community (Solent), which in the past year has fed thousands of people, collecting prescriptions for those isolating and regularly telephoning those suffering from loneliness. In addition to The Queen’s Award, it has been recognised as one which has provided impactful support to the community in response to the pandemic and its award will include reference to this work together with badges for individual volunteers involved in providing extra support related to the pandemic.The Link Foundation helps disadvantaged children in need through its healthcare, social services and school partner networks, and has also been specifically selected by the QAVS to receive a special Covid-19 designation, in recognition of the impactful support provided to the community and the response of its volunteers throughout the pandemic.Others include Women’s Inclusive Team (main image), Broke Not Broken, Mindsong, Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, and Guru Maneyo Granth Gurdwara.
How & when to nominate an organisation for a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service
Any group of three or more people doing volunteering work for three years or more can be nominated for the award. The majority of the group must be volunteers, and more than half the volunteers must have the right to live in the UK.
To be nominated they should do work that:provides a service and meets a need for people living in the local community is supported, recognised and respected by the local community and the people who benefit from it is run locally
Nominations for the 2022 awards are open now, and close on 15 September 2021. More information on how to nominate is available here.