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Awards process

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service runs in annual cycles, starting with nominations in April each year, then due diligence and assessment between September, and announcements of awardees in June. Learn more about the timeline and meet some of the assessors below.

Timeline overview of the Awards process

DateStep
1 April 2021New nomination period opens for 2022 awards.
15 September 2021Nomination period closes.
September 2021Eligibility of submitted nominations is checked.
October 2021 – January 2022Local Lieutenancies conduct due diligence and visit eligible groups.
February – mid March 2022National Assessors consider recommended groups and decide on a shortlist.
April 2022Royal approval of shortlisted groups.
2 June 2022Awards officially announced in The Gazette, GOV.UK and on the QAVS website.
June – September 2022Lord-Lieutenants present Awards to the successful groups (usually at their premises).
May 2023Two representatives from the awarded groups attend a Royal Garden Party.

Meet the National Assessment Committee

The QAVS National Assessors have a key role in the awards process as they make the final decision on which groups should be recommended to Her Majesty The Queen to receive an award. 

You can read more about some of them below.

Portrait of Sir Martyn Lewis.

Sir Martyn Lewis CBE

Over 32 years as a television journalist Martyn anchored every mainstream television news programme on ITV and BBC. His charitable involvement began with the Hospice movement, and expanded over four decades to include the founding of the UK’s first internet charity YouthNet (now themix.org.uk), and embraces areas as diverse as disadvantaged young people, learning disabilities, dementia, military families, volunteering and leadership. A former Chair of NCVO, Martyn is Patron of www.positive.news and the Patchwork Foundation, Founder of the online video gift company yourbigday.tv and a Director of the wind turbine company Alpha-311. He has chaired the Awards Committee since 2010.
Portrait of Sandra Adair MBE.

Sandra Adair MBE

Sandra has worked in the volunteering sector In Northern Ireland for 32 years and is passionate about improving volunteers’ experiences.  A former Director of the lead organisation for volunteering in Northern Ireland, Volunteer Now, she has been a driving force in raising standards for volunteer management and safeguarding, developing and implementing accredited opportunities for people who work with volunteers, as well as organisational awards such as the national Investing in Volunteers award.  She was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2020 in recognition of her work in relation to volunteer development, management and training.
Portrait of Harris Bokhari OBE.

Harris Bokhari OBE

Harris is a social entrepreneur and chartered accountant. He serves as a board member of Prince’s Trust Mosaic Initiative and as a British Asian Trust ambassador.  In 2020 he was appointed as a Natural History Museum trustee. In 2011, in memory of his late father, Naz Bokhari OBE, Harris co-founded the Naz Legacy Foundation to help young people from minority communities and disadvantaged backgrounds by supporting their education whilst encouraging positive integration into British society. Harris founded Patchwork Foundation in 2012, recognising the vital need for a vehicle through which to promote the political and democratic engagement of under-represented communities.
Portrait of Ruth Bravery.

Ruth Bravery

Ruth has worked in the charity sector since 2010, with leadership roles in both national and local charities.  She now uses her knowledge and experience to guide charities to evolve and improve their service, operations, governance and strategy. Prior to this, she spent twenty years in the Civil Service in strategic, policy and operational roles. Ruth has volunteered in various roles throughout her life, including several roles as a Trustee. Outside of work, Ruth likes to play an active part in her local community, especially in relation to neighbourhood planning and leasehold reform, and for time out enjoys long-distance walking.
Portrait of Sylvia Brown.

Sylvia Brown OBE

As the CEO of a national organisation promoting rural community action, Sylvia worked with government and other national organisations on a range of issues, including climate change and communities (2010) and the development of Community Rights under the Localism Act (2012).  She was awarded the OBE in 2007 for services to rural communities.   Now retired, Sylvia remains active as a volunteer and Parish Councillor, working strategically with local government and charities. Sylvia has expertise in not-for-profit structures and finance, as well as years of experience in approaches to creating vibrant local communities.
Portrait of Dr Deesha Chadha OBE.

Dr Deesha Chadha OBE

Deesha is a National Executive Committee member of the Hindu Forum of Britain (an umbrella organisation reporting to the central government). She has served as a council member of the Faiths Forum for London from 2010 and was elected as a vice-chair and trustee in 2017. She is currently a co-chair of the charity and is the first BAME woman to hold such a position. She was honoured with an OBE for services to faith communities in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2020. In her professional role, Deesha is a senior teaching fellow at Imperial College London, having completed her doctoral training at the University of Surrey.
Portrait of Andy Cook.

Andy Cook

Andy is the Chief Executive of the leading Westminster think tank, the Centre for Social Justice.  Andy is also a founder of an award-winning charity and sits on the boards of various charities, as well as being an advisor to different philanthropists around the UK.
Portrait of Jessica Cook.

Jessica Cook

Jessica is passionate about inclusion for all and is a National Partnerships Advisor for Activity Alliance. She works with National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGB’s) to support them with inclusion and enabling more disabled people to be active and stay active. Jessica does this through a wide variety of strategic outcomes, ranging from support and guidance in the development of national strategies, organisational improvement and training to develop a more inclusive approach. She also works with National Disability Charities to support a better link between sport, physical activity and disabled people.
Portrait of Jennifer Crook.

Jennifer Crook

Jennifer is the Director of Operations at the House of Commons. Previously, she has held roles focused on equality, diversity, inclusion and community cohesion in central and local government. As a published author, Jennifer has written articles in the national press and has worked with organisations on the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda including; working with the United Nations on gender and race equality issues, Amongst her many qualifications, Jennifer is a qualified teacher and counsellor, has a Masters in ‘Race’ and Ethnic Relations and is an accredited harassment adviser. Jennifer has volunteered with a number of charities for children and young people with focuses on disability and BAME inclusion.
Portrait of Emir Feisal JP.

Emir Feisal JP.

Emir is a chartered accountant and a specialist in transformational change. The majority of his career was spent at the Sunday Times as Associate Managing Editor.  He is currently Director of Corporate Services at YMCA London, City and North. He is a Commissioner for the Judicial Appointments Commission, which selects candidates for judicial office in courts and tribunals. He is also a magistrate for the Central London Bench for both the adult and family courts. For over 25 years, Emir has been involved in various charities, he is presently a trustee of the Henry Smith Charity and a founder Trustee of GreenSeas Trusts. Emir is at present, a board member of the Serious Fraud Office, the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency, the Honours Committee and The Pension Ombudsman.
Portrait of Dr Phil Friend OBE.

Dr Phil Friend OBE

Phil was the co-founder of Minty & Friend Ltd. The company provided disability equality training and consultancy support to large corporate and public sector organisations until his retirement in 2019. Phil, who is a wheelchair user, has spent many years working in the voluntary sector. He is a former chair of Disability Rights UK, the current Chair of Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RIDC), Vice-Chair of Activity Alliance, and Vice-Chair of BT’s Customer Inclusion Panel. Phil believes that everyone can make a difference, they just need the opportunity to play their part.
Portrait of Bill Howat.

Bill Howat

Bill has spent many years in public service; including 5 years as Chief Executive of Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council), 21 years as a civil servant in the Scottish Office and 10 years in Academia as a researcher and lecturer in economics. Post-retirement Bill has worked as a consultant and advised Scottish Parliament committees. He also chaired volunteer bodies, including Volunteer Scotland, and is currently chair of the New Lanark Trust responsible for the New Lanark World Heritage Site. Bill has many hobbies including diving, squash, gardening and occasionally plays the guitar.
Portrait of Hayley Jarvis.

Hayley Jarvis

Hayley is the Head of Physical Activity at Mind, the mental health charity. She leads a wide portfolio of programmes including ‘Get Set to Go’ and ‘On Your Side’ partnership with the English Football League. Hayley works on the ‘Heads Up’ campaign with the FA and the Royal Foundation to change the conversation on mental health. She is an independent representative on the UK Sport’s Mental Health Strategy Group. Hayley is a mental health advocate and peer volunteer for Dudley Mind establishing the Jolly Joggers mental wellbeing running group. She has a Masters of Education in Inclusion and Special Educational Needs and has worked and volunteered in the inclusion sector her entire career.
Portrait of Ramesh Kukar.

Ramesh Kukar

Ramesh is Chief Executive Officer of Slough CVS which deliver’s support to local charities, community groups and volunteers. He is engaged and involved in every aspect of the town, seeing at first hand the incredible contribution that the Slough community – both businesses and residents – make giving their time and money to improve the lives of others. Starting life as an accountant, he has worked in economic development, social enterprises and as an advisor and business trainer in Business Link. His passion and challenge is to create collaboration between the public sector, third sector and private sector for social innovation.
Portrait of Leonie Lewis MBE.

Leonie Lewis MBE

Leonie is a leading charity and community consultant. She retired from her role as the first Director of the Jewish Volunteering Network in March 2019. She is currently consulting for several charities and working as a lead Covid Champion with the government on vaccination rollout to hard to reach & BAME communities. She has a Masters in Sociology of Education and is an MBA UJIA Ashdown Fellow. She is particularly interested in faith, young people and community development issues and holds several voluntary positions including, Vice-Chair of the Faiths Forum for London, Trustee of Paperweight and Trustee of the Interfaith Network. She is also an active member of Pinner Utd Synagogue, is married to Howard and has 8 grandchildren!!
Portrait of Helen Michaels.

Helen Michaels

Helen is CEO and Co-Founder of Digi-Board Limited, the leading providers of online governance reviews to enable charities and not-for-profits to evaluate and improve their board effectiveness. She specialises in third sector governance and worked extensively as a board-level adviser in the UK and internationally, with charities, not-for-profits, SME’s and FTSE 100 organisations. Helen is a charity Trustee and Vice-Chair at Campaign for Better Transport. She holds an honours degree from Warwick University and executive diplomas from INSEAD and the Institute for Applied Behavioural Science (USA).
Portrait of Andrew Middleton.

Andrew Middleton

Andrew began his career working for Blue Chip Companies such as American Express, Vodafone and British Airways, across North America and Europe, specialising in IT, change and quality assessment, before transitioning to the Charity Sector in 2005. Since then, Andrew has developed a broad spectrum of experience in the non-profit sector having held roles as CEO, Trustee, Director, Governor, Fundraiser and Consultant for local, regional, and national organisations. Before joining the national assessment committee, he has been part of a Charity awarded a QAVS, served on local assessment panels, and nominated groups for the award. He is a volunteer for several local charities.
Portrait of Vicky Mirfin.

Victoria Mirfin

Victoria is Head of Partnerships at Jack Petchey Foundation where she looks after the Foundation’s partnership grant programmes and the Jack Petchey Internship Programme. She was Head of Global Corporate Social Responsibility at Lloyd’s of London for over ten years where she oversaw their award-winning major employee volunteering programme and their charitable foundations.  Prior to joining Jack Petchey Foundation, she had roles as Deputy Director for an education and employability charity in East London and as Deputy Chief Executive of the UK membership body for Chairs of charities, Association of Chairs. She has volunteered as a Trustee of a number of charities in London.
Portrait of Tebussum Rashid.

Tebussum Rashid

Tebussum has over 25 years experience of working with the voluntary and community sector, not only assisting with organisational development issues, funding and fundraising but also helping create and develop new organisations and projects, influencing policy and societal change. Her scope has meant working in fields including criminal justice, race equality, mental health, abuse and domestic violence, education and employment. She is currently Deputy Chief Executive at Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG). Alongside this, she is the founder and Director of Sukoon Ltd, a training and consultancy company.
Portrait of Lizzy Ralph.

Lizzy Ralph

Lizzy is currently the Director of Group Operations and specializes in supporting client with a range of logistical needs in the Events, Film and TV industry. She enjoys taking an active part in her community and holds a number of local and regional voluntary responsibilities across the South West. Proud of her farming heritage, she has a passion for rural causes and affairs and celebrating what the British countryside has to offer.
Portrait of Chris Reed.

Chris Reed

Chris is Director of Volunteer Mobilisation at the British Red Cross. His career has included frontline volunteer management in the health and social care sector, heading the national volunteering functions at Barnardo’s and St John Ambulance and Chief Executive of Volunteer Centre Westminster. Chris has a young family but continues to be an extremely active volunteer. As well as being a QAVS assessor he is also a Trustee and Secretary of his local Social Club and is currently volunteering to support the Covid vaccination programme.
Portrait of Sarah Rossiter.

Sarah Rossiter

Head of Controls Assurance at the National Lottery Community Fund – Sarah leads a team that looks at the risks associated with the funding and tests the effectiveness of the controls in place to mitigate risks. Sarah is also the designated safeguarding lead for the organisation which involves working with others to assess concerns and take appropriate, proportionate action to protect people. She has extensive experience working directly with young people within the third sector, specifically looking for ways to empower them through sport and social action. Sarah joined QAVS in 2016 whilst working for a Birmingham based charity coordinating their volunteer programme.  Every year Sarah looks forward to reading through the QAVS nominations and hearing about the incredible volunteers we have across the UK.
Portrait of Mike Smith-Clare.

Mike Smith-Clare

Mike is co-founder of the award winning community training provider The Bread Kitchen CIC. Mike is passionate about the role of volunteering in engaging with and strengthening community. In 2016 he was awarded an MBE for services to education.
Portrait of Ben Summerskill OBE.

Ben Summerskill OBE

Ben was Chief Executive of Stonewall from 2003 to 2014, and then Director of the Criminal Justice Alliance. Prior to this, Ben was Assistant Editor and Chief Leader Writer at The Observer. He is a member of the Honours Committee for Community and Voluntary Service and a trustee of Switchback.
Portrait of Pippa Warin.

Pippa Warin

Until recently, Pippa worked for Arts Council England, currently, she works as a business coach and advisor on schemes such as The School for Social Entrepreneurs. Pippa started her career by founding a family education project for Westminster Women’s Aid. She went on to run a Council for Voluntary Service, setting up the South West region of the Community Fund. Pippa was the South West Head of Culture for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).
Portrait of Catriona Williams OBE.

Catriona Williams OBE

Catriona retired in 2020. Previously she was the CEO of Children in Wales. She led the creation of ‘Cymru Ifanc’ /‘Young Wales’, as the national platform for children and young people to give their views direct to Welsh Government. Internationally, Catriona was the Founder and first President of Eurochild. Catriona led the campaign to establish the first Children’s Commissioner in the UK and was a Commissioner on the UK Government Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission. She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list 2013 for services to vulnerable and deprived children and her commitment continues through her current charitable work. She remains co-Chair of Voices from Care Cymru and joined the Board of Homestart Cymru in May 2020.

View a full list of the committee member names