The highest award given to charitable organisations, the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, will be awarded to 241 organisations across the UK today, as the Minister for Civil Society and Youth hailed volunteers as “the backbone of local communities” during the national recovery from COVID-19.
Charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have received the prestigious award for delivering exceptional service within their communities over the past year and beyond.
The winners have carried out critical work to enhance the lives of others, 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 of those honoured have adapted their services to respond to the coronavirus outbreak as the voluntary sector continues to play a vital role in the national recovery. This has been recognised through a special designation given to 164 of the group for providing impactful support during the initial lockdown.
Coinciding with Volunteers’ Week, the Queen’s Award recognises that volunteers have been vital throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and will continue to be as the country emerges from 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.
Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration for the UK to recognise those who have dedicated their time to support their local community, both through the pandemic, and over many years.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Independent Committee Chair Sir Martyn Lewis, said:
Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Barran said:
This year’s recipients demonstrate the diversity of organisations supporting our communities and also their ability to innovate – including:
- Second Wave Centre for Youth Arts in London 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 is 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 bring 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 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 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.
Other award winners can be found by clicking this map.
Nominations for the 2022 awards close on 15 September 2021.