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Nominator eligibility criteria

The group cannot nominate themselves, they must be nominated by someone else.

The nominator must:

  • be a member of the public with a good knowledge of the group’s work (such as a beneficiary or long-term supporter)
  • be able to supply two separate letters of support from two additional people who know the group well

The nominator must not:

  • be a volunteer, employee or trustee of the group, or in any way involved with the running of the organisation

We need to ensure that nominators are independent, and members of the group cannot nominate themselves. This is very important, as KAVS is a national Honour.

Group eligibility criteria

KAVS awards are intended for groups that are led by volunteers and provide a benefit for local communities.

The group must:

  • be made up of three or more people
  • be based in the UK, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man
  • have been in operation for at least three years before nomination
  • have over half its volunteers eligible to reside in the UK
  • be led by volunteers, not by paid staff; over half its members should be volunteers
  • provide a specific and direct benefit to the local community

The group must not:

  • have been nominated for a QAVS/KAVS* award in the past 3 years
  • have already received a QAVS/KAVS* award
  • operate as a national organisation, as QAVS/KAVS* is aimed at local volunteer groups
  • have fundraising or grant making as its primary focus
  • be based within or in support of a public service, unless they have a separate identity from the public service organisation
  • operate solely for the benefit of animals, unless it can demonstrate that its work provides significant other benefits to the local community (for example, therapy pets)

*QAVS changed its title to become KAVS (The King’s Award for Voluntary Service) in 2023

Additional Guidance:

Specific and direct local benefit

Groups must provide direct benefits to a community through their work, for example, directly supporting disabled people. Groups will be considered ineligible where their sole purpose is to support one or more other groups that provide these direct benefits. This is why fundraising and grant-giving organisations are specifically excluded as listed above.

Please note, groups that raise funds might be considered if their activities have a significant beneficial impact on the wider community beyond fundraising (for example, by hosting a major event or providing a significant local service).

National organisations

A group can be nominated if it is a branch of, or affiliated to, a larger regional or national organisation. However, it will be expected to have initiated and developed a distinctive approach locally and be able to show a high degree of autonomy and self-determination (for example, a local scout group).

Groups supporting a public service

Groups based within or in support of a public service (such as a hospital, police force or school) are eligible, but you will need to be able to demonstrate that:

  • the group has a separate identity from the statutory organisation and is clearly under the leadership of volunteers, rather than simply following instructions from paid staff in the organisation
  • the group is an established, long-term volunteer group with its own unique identity and a governance structure, rather than being part of a wider scheme or a school-led volunteering initiative