Spring is in the air and we’re delighted to announce that the next round of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service has now opened. We will be accepting nominations for the 2023 awards until the 15th September this year and are really looking forward to hearing about the ways in which local groups of volunteers are devising and running services to help change lives in their community.
QAVS was set up 20 years ago to recognise and celebrate exceptional local volunteer groups across the UK. The standard expected is very high, as the award is an Honour equivalent to an MBE. However, you’ll see from all the examples on our website that there is no such thing as a typical QAVS awardee. They really do cover a wide, diverse range of activities from theatre groups to food banks, dementia clubs, local radio stations and more.
We hope that everyone will be on the lookout for outstanding volunteer-led groups in their local area. Perhaps you know of a local group making a big impact on the lives of young people, like Lads Need Dads in Essex, who mentor and motivate teenage boys with absent fathers? Or you might know an excellent local sports club like Fivemiletown Football Club, whose inclusive approach provides football to all ages and abilities in rural County Tyrone?
We regularly receive inspiring nominations for local groups whose passion is to make people feel included. The volunteers of Ethel Trust in South Yorkshire have restored and adapted a barge so that vulnerable and isolated members of the community can enjoy the local waterways. Whilst Vintage Worx in Rochdale have restored a park and created opportunities to improve the mental health and employment prospects of people left on the margins of society.
Maybe you know a group that is working hard to help those in crisis? Guru Maneyo Granth Gurwara in Slough serves the local Sikh community in all sorts of ways, but has gone much further to support people in need with hot food and more, regardless of their faith. Or groups like The Link in Berkshire are reaching out to elderly and lonely people with visits and social events. And finally, let’s not forget the fantastic groups enhancing everyone’s lives with history, music, theatre and dance. You can see many more inspiring examples on our website.
If there’s an exceptional group in your neighbourhood that you would like to nominate then you can do so here. You need to be completely independent from them (groups should not nominate themselves), however all you need to do is to: check the eligibility criteria, complete a simple online form and add some letters of support from two other individuals. If you don’t know of a group, but are passionate about volunteering, we’d love for you to follow and share our social media posts, helping to highlight the wonderful stories of volunteers making real differences to communities across the UK.
We look forward to reading all your nominations!