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Transcript for Sir Martyn Lewis QAVS 2021 awards video

Volunteer groups are the beating heart of our country. The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is there to champion the outstanding work that these groups do for local communities. 

It is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK and is the equivalent of an MBE.

This year’s 241 recipients have made an impact in their communities in lots of ways, from mentoring young people and connecting with the lonely to reclaiming green spaces and much, much more.

Each and every one of this year’s recipients have inspired us with their exceptional stories and the phenomenal legacies they’ve created. 

From Shout at Cancer, whose unique approach is helping people with throat cancer to sing again, to Inverclyde’s Belville Community Garden Trust, who have transformed a derelict area into a vibrant community garden, their innovation, ingenuity and human kindness is genuinely humbling and inspirational. 

The recipients of the Queen’s Award are all committed volunteers who support communities to come together and tackle problems head on. They never shy away from hard work. And they have never been needed more than now. 

The coronavirus pandemic has changed all of our lives. We want to thank the recipients of this year’s award who have stepped up their efforts in these most challenging of times. We are recognising this via a special designation of the award for 164 of the groups. 

This includes the Dryslwyn Community Shop, who provided a volunteer-run delivery service for self-isolating customers, and Via Wings in County Down, who responded to a six-fold increase in demand for their food parcels.

We know that this is work many of you were already doing and as life returns to normal, you will still be there, caring for people and supporting them. 

I want to also pay tribute to the photos and videos you have shared with us – which demonstrate how everyone is pulling together with true community spirit and highlight why your efforts and those of similar organisations are so important to your communities. 

Your work sets an incredible example to others and I congratulate all of you receiving a Queen’s Award this year.