Nine groups of volunteers based in Lancashire have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.  The number of Awards is a record for Lancashire.  The groups are included in the list of 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.  Recipients are announced each year on 2 June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteer groups from across the UK, including a community shop in Cornwall, an environmental group in Swansea, a group working with refugees and vulnerable people in Stirling and a thriving community arts centre in County Down.  In Lancashire, there are groups involved in sport, the arts, heritage, community facilities and health & social care.

Representatives of the Groups will receive the award from Lord Shuttleworth, Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire later this summer. Furthermore, two volunteers from each of the Groups will be invited to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2021, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

Lord Shuttleworth commented: “I am delighted that these groups’ work has been recognised in this way; during our assessment visits we were impressed by their achievements and commitment to their communities.  I very much hope that we will see more excellent groups nominated for the Award in the future.  I know that the people of Lancashire will look at the brilliant and essential work that voluntary groups and charities have been doing and nominate for next year’s awards.  The nomination window is now open.”

This year there were 230 recipients of The Queen’s Award Voluntary Service from across the UK. More information on the recipients and the Award can be found at www.gov.uk/queens-award-for-voluntary-service

Any group of two or more people that has participated in voluntary work for more than three years can be nominated for the award. Full details on how to nominate are available at www.qavs.culture.gov.uk

Nominations for the 2021 awards close on 25 September 2020.

Congratulations to this year’s Lancashire winners:

Affordable Counselling and Caring Emotional Support Services (Morecambe) provides affordable counselling and therapy to adults, families and young people to support them with their mental health issues.

Belvedere & Calder Vale Sports Club (Burnley) is an inclusive club which offers three sports (football, cricket and rugby union) at its sports ground in north Burnley.  It supports over 400 members, both male and female from under 8 to open age and from all sections of the community.

Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours takes responsibility for running a fleet of 20 Heritage trams, which bring huge enjoyment to users and onlookers alike.  Their aim is to educate the public in the history of the Blackpool Tramway and ride on a heritage tramcar on the line for which it was actually built.

Douglas Music Society (Parbold) is a registered charity whose aim is to establish a series of musical events attracting the highest quality of World class musicians providing accessible concerts to a Village Hall in rural Lancashire.  It is in its 46th season and is remarkably successful in attracting audiences to a small rural community from a wide area and artists from all over the world. 

Fulledge Colts Youth Football Club (Burnley) provides physical, outdoor activity for almost 400 young people (boys and girls) throughout the year.  This is important at a time when there are concerns that many young people are losing sight of the benefits of taking exercise on their physical and mental wellbeing.

Halton Community Association (Lancaster) has transformed an unused, rundown village hall into an amazing centre which is now the envy of surrounding villages and the hub around which the wider community is engaged.

Maundy Relief (Hyndburn) has the simple aim of “Providing an immediate response to those in need”.   The Group’s services include counselling to adults and young people; Anger management; a drop-in centre; and a furniture shop.

The Parbold Picture House uses a Village Hall in a rural community not blessed with cultural amenities to operate a successful high quality community Cinema.

Wrightington and Wigan Group of Friends for Cancer Research UK has raised £130,000 for Cancer Research (CRUK) since 2010 but its role as a community hub is probably more important, organising regular events that bring the community together in a rural community with few amenities.