230 winners of the 2020 Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service announced. 2021 awards now accepting applications.

Winners of the 2020 Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service have just been announced.

Information about all 230 award winners can be found on this map.

Charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups from Bristol to Belfast and Derbyshire to Dumfries have received the highest award given to organisations delivering exceptional service within their communities.

Many of those honoured have adapted their services to respond to the coronavirus outbreak as the voluntary sector continues to play a vital role in the national effort.

Coinciding with Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), this year’s Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service celebrates the work of a fantastic, diverse range of volunteer groups whose work has enhanced and supported local communities over a number of years.

The Queen’s Award offers a chance to highlight their outstanding contribution to society and also to recognise the crucial role many have played to support vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic.

This year’s recipients demonstrate the diversity of organisations supporting our communities and also their ability to innovate – many have been able to adapt their services in light of the coronavirus outbreak including:

o Forward Assist, in Tyne and Wear, has been supporting veterans in the community by setting up a virtual support service, in which a therapist checks in with ‘safe and well’ calls and offers one-to-one counselling. It has also arranged food parcels, offered financial advice and updated CVs for vulnerable, isolated veterans.

o When a local food bank closed in Neath Port Talbot because its volunteers were self-isolating, the Cymer Afan Community Library quickly decided to repurpose their building, staff and volunteers and transform the library into a temporary food bank for the community.

o North Somerset Black and Minority Ethnic Network have supported the local community through providing advice and assistance over the phone and have delivered over 5000 hot meals to vulnerable people, free of charge.

o To support the mental health and wellbeing of older people who usually attend the Eglinton Community Centre in Derry-Londonderry, volunteers have been running online dance exercise classes so people can keep active in their living rooms and kitchens while they stay at home.

o Gairloch Community Car Scheme (link to Facebook page) in the Scottish Highlands have adapted their car service to collect and deliver groceries, pharmacy items and other shopping for those who are isolated during the pandemic. They have also extended the area they cover to a 150 mile radius to ensure the more remote, outlying families can access the help they need.

The recipients of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service are announced every year on 2 June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.

Any volunteer-led group comprising two or more people having a positive impact on the lives of others in an exceptional way can be nominated for an award. A group must satisfy the eligibility requirements before the nomination can be processed through to the assessment stages of the award. More details can be found on the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service website.

Nominations for the 2021 awards are currently open and close on Friday 25 September 2020.

Image: North Somerset Black and Minority Ethnic Network