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.

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: