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The 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.

To find out more, please see the Guide to The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

Five of Hertfordshire’s Voluntary Groups were awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2017.  The Groups are:

East Herts Special Olympics - Stanstead Abbotts

The group was founded in 2009 with the sole purpose to provide active and meaningful community-based activities for children and adults with learning difficulties and disabilities.  The year round weekly clubs provide provision that did not previously exist and a much needed opportunity for members to be active, interact with others and learn new skills within the community.

The Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Richard Beazley, presented a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to the East Herts Special Olympics Team at their annual presentation evening which was attended by both members and volunteers.  The event was held at Wodson Park in Ware on 8 September.

New Hope - Watford

New Hope provides a holistic tailored service to homeless people in Watford.  Each night, 60 people are accommodated and over 500 individuals receive help each year.  Each service user received personal wrap-around care through a diverse range of accommodation, support and development services to get them back on their feet.

Penny Williams JP DL who heads the Queen’s Award Panel for the Lieutenancy presented a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to New Hope on 30 September at the group’s Community Garden Open Day which was held in Watford on 30 September.

Rennie Grove Hospice Care Volunteers – Tring

With a common goal, and pride in being part of a unique community service with the highest standards, the volunteers provide resources supporting local patients with a life-limiting illness and their families, offering a choice of where to die by contributing directly to either their care or raising funds.

The Lord-Lieutenant and The Countess of Verulam jointly presented a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to the Rennie Grove Hospice Care Volunteers at an event held at Grove House in St Albans on 11 September.  Approximately 50 guests attended including many of the organisation’s volunteers.

Rickmansworth Waterways Trust - Rickmansworth

The group was formed in 1991 and has over the years built up a high level of respect across a broad range of the community.  They present the Award winning ‘Learning at the Lock’ educational programme, organise and run the Rickmansworth Festival (one of the UK’s premier canal and community events) and restore and upkeep a unique historic wooden narrow boat.  The group has a strong focus on heritage, environment and community values.

On Thursday 17 August, the Lord-Lieutenant presented Rickmansworth Waterways Trust with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.  The photograph shows the Lord-Lieutenant presenting the Award to Mr David Montague, the Trust’s Festival Director and Chairman, who said afterwards that he had received numerous positive comments on how it all went well and how much everyone enjoyed the occasion.


Ware in Bloom – Ware

Ware in Bloom are a dedicated group of volunteers from all walks of life, making significant contributions to the community.  They bring joy and beauty to the town of Ware throughout all the seasons.  Their innovative floral projects have won Anglia in Bloom Awards and the group were nominated to represent Britain in Bloom 2015.

On Saturday 28 October the Lord-Lieutenant presented The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to Ware in Bloom.  The Presentation was held at Fletcher’s Lea at Ware Priory and formed part of their annual Celebration Evening.  The Lord-Lieutenant was accompanied at this event by his Police Cadet - Ayse Ozkaratas.  The photographs show the Lord-Lieutenant cutting the Celebration Cake with his sword and presenting the Award to the group.”

Guide to The 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 at any time. If you wish to make sure your group is considered for an award in the following year, your nomination must be received by 30 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

  • 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