Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK for outstanding work done in their local communities.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of the Queen’s coronation. The award used to be called the Golden Jubilee Award for Voluntary Service by Groups in the Community.

Mudlarks Community Garden – Winners 2019

All at The Mudlarks Community were delighted to receive The Queens Award for Voluntary Service 2019.

Eleven years ago, Mudlarks Community was founded to integrate people with learning difficulties and mental health issues into the Hertford Community through gardening and at our cafe. We now welcome 196 people across many innovative projects. We have a brilliant group of over 60 volunteers that helps us achieve this. Each volunteer brings to Mudlarks a wealth of knowledge.

The beautiful glass award and certificate signed by the Queen now takes pride of place on the counter of The Mudlarks Café in Railway Street Hertford. Proudly positioned for all our café customers to see.

I am so pleased that our volunteer’s much-valued contribution towards The Mudlarks Community has been recognised by Her Majesty the Queen.

Mudlarks' Managing Director

Mediation Hertfordshire – Winners 2018

Being honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2018 has had such a positive impact on our work at Mediation Hertfordshire.

It has helped to raise the profile of our work in the field of conflict resolution and it has also provided recognition of the value of mediation services to the community.

Most importantly it is a special tribute to the contribution of our volunteer mediators who work so hard to help others who are suffering from conflict.

Chief Executive Officer

Waterways Experience – Winners 2018

We were lucky enough to be nominated for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service by our outgoing mayor and this triggered a phase of scrutiny of our operation by two deputy lieutenants:  this effectively gave us a valuable free audit of our internal processes and procedures. 

After a period of suspense came first the wonderful news and then some frenzy as we re-planned our annual, simple volunteers’ ‘thank you’ party to make it a really special celebration.  We were able to showcase our service to the local community as well as the Lord Lieutenant who presented us with the award.

But above all, holding the award is a real long term asset, boosting our ability to attract new volunteers, attract project funding and client groups for our accessible boat trips. We’d commend the QAVS scheme to any confident all-volunteer charity. 

Trustee and Team Leader for Marketing & Communications

HertsWatch – Winners 2018

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was very much appreciated by members of HertsWatch Committee as a reward for all their efforts and was very good for morale generally.  

After receiving the award,  the District coordinators seemed to be more enthusiastic about their work and membership seemed to increase at an even greater rate! Many of them commented that it had brought respect from partner agencies that somehow didn’t seem to be there before.

The individual badges we bought for the District Coordinators are still being worn with pride, especially at local NHW events and functions.  Many people comment on the badge and ask us what we received it for, so it gives us an opening to explain NHW and the benefits of membership.  

We had to work hard for the award but it was certainly worth the effort to gain such a coveted award.

Chair of Neighbourhood Watch

Who can nominate a group for The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service?

Any member of the public can nominate a volunteer group working in the local community, even if you benefit from its work. You can’t nominate a group you’re part of, a volunteer for or a paid staff member.

The group of 2 or more people must be doing volunteer work in the UK that has given a specific benefit to the local area for more than 3 years. Their volunteering work can include support to people overseas.

Volunteer Groups – Conditions that have to be met

Activities can provide direct benefits to the local community such as a running a youth club. They can also provide indirect benefits such as protecting the environment. A volunteer group’s work must involve more than just fundraising.

The group needs to:

  • Provide a service and meets a need for people living in the local community
  • Be supported, recognised and respected by the local community and the people who benefit from it
  • Be run locally

The majority of the group have to be volunteers and more than half the volunteers must have the right to live in the UK.

When you can nominate a group?

You can nominate a group between 1 April to end of 2nd week in September. If you wish to make sure your group is considered for an award in the following year, your nomination must be received by midnight on 13th September.

Nominations may be considered at any point over a 3 year period. During this time you may be contacted to provide up-to-date information about the group. If a group isn’t successful in the 3 years after being nominated, it won’t be considered for the award. A fresh nomination can then be made.

How the assessment process works

After you hand in a nomination form, the award administrator checks each nomination to make sure the group is eligible for the award. Then the administrator sends the nominations to the local assessment panel.

If the volunteer group you’ve nominated operates in England and is eligible for the award, the nomination will be assessed at county level. The assessment will be done by representatives of the Queen called Lord-Lieutenants, helped by a county assessment panel of leading representatives from the local community.

As part of the assessment process, the Lord-Lieutenants and their representatives may visit volunteer groups that have been nominated.

Assessment Panels

Lord-Lieutenants, who are representatives of the Queen in each county, organise a local assessment panel involving people with knowledge of the local community. The panel assesses all eligible nominations within their county. During the assessment the Lord-Lieutenant or their representative may visit each of the nominated groups to gain direct experience of what the group does. The panel will then decide which nominations are successful and write a statement called a ‘panel citation’ explaining why they think the group should win the award. The panel will send the nominations and the panel citations to the specialist assessment committee.

The specialist assessment committee is made up of 9 independent experts from across the UK. They consider successful nominations and panel citations and then make recommendations of who should win the award to the main award committee.

People on the panels should have relevant experience in:

  • The local voluntary and community sector
  • Local services (health, education, environment, social services)
  • Arts and leisure
  • Youth work or urban re-generation
  • The business sector

Winning the Award

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport sends a recommended list of volunteer groups that should win the award to the Queen for her approval. Winning volunteer groups will be informed if they are going to win the award before the public announcement is made. However, they have to agree to keep details of the award private until the official announcement is made. A list of winners is published in the London Gazette.

Winners of the award receive a certificate signed by Her Majesty The Queen and a domed glass crystal. The Lord-Lieutenant from the local county presents the certificate and the crystal to winning volunteer groups at special ceremonies. Representatives from the group may also be invited to attend a royal garden party. Winners can get mini crystal versions of the award by contacting the administrator of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Winners of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service are announced on 2 June every year.

Managing the Award

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport manages The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Award Administrator provides administrative, PR and communications support for the award to the Office for the Third Sector within Cabinet Office.

More than 980 groups around the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man have now received this annual Award since it was created in 2002.

Winners of the award in Hertfordshire since 2003

  • 2019 – Community Action Dacorum, Irish Network, Mudlarks,  St Albans Talking Newspaper and The Hospice of St Francis
  • 2018 – Hertswatch, Mediation Hertfordshire, Samaritans of SW Herts, SAMMS and Waterways Experience
  • 2017 – Rennie Grove Hospice Care, Rickmansworth Waterways Trust, New Hope, Special Olympics East Herts and Ware in Bloom
  • 2016 – Dens, Box Cleva and The Cresent
  • 2015 – No winners
  • 2014 – No winners
  • 2013 – Bury Lake Young Marniers
  • 2012 – British Schools Museum Volunteers
  • 2011 – Colne Valley Special Sailors, The Garden House Hospice and Watford Arabic School
  • 2010 – Stewards of the Hertfordshire County Show
  • 2009 – Turnford Netball Club, Khalsa Football Academy, Isabel Hospice and Northern Heights
  • 2008 – Centre 33 and Harpenden Trust
  • 2007 – MBA Association
  • 2006 – Earthworks, HomeStart Stevenage and Hormead Hares Football Club
  • 2005 – Dacorum Talking Newspaper
  • 2004 – Community Meeting Point Harpenden and Hertfordshire MS Therapy Centre
  • 2003 – Connect Club Hatfield and Welwyn (WOT NOTS Project), Mount Bovingdon Visitors’ Centre Association, Redbourn Care Group, Watford Mosque and Welfare Association

For more information visit: qavs.culture.gov.uk

Do you know an exceptional volunteer group deserving of the Queen's Award?

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the MBE for voluntary groups was created by Her Majesty to mark the Golden Jubilee in 2002 to recognise exceptional contributions made to local communities by groups of volunteers.

Learn more about the award and how you can nominate here:

https://qavs.culture.gov.uk/