Queen's Award for Voluntary Service: winners of the 2019

With the 2020 Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service winners due to be announced in a special supplement of The Gazette next week, we look at five of last year’s winners.

Welshpool Llanfair Light Railway

What is The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service?

Each year, the winners of The Queen’s Awards for Voluntary Service (QAVS) are announced in a special edition of The Gazette. The QAVS is the highest award given to UK volunteer groups, recognising exceptional work done by volunteer groups in their communities.

Who won The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service in 2019?

A total of 281 organisations from across the UK received the prestigious award in 2019 (Gazette issue 62658). We take a closer look at five of them:

Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway

Operating on an eight-mile steam railway in Powys and Shropshire, Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway is a major tourist attraction with over 25,000 visitors a year. Aiming to demonstrate how it served its rural Mid-Wales community from Edwardian times, volunteers prepare and operate the steam locomotives, provide safety-critical guards for the trains, greet visitors, sell tickets and manage the stations, as well as helping in the bookshops and catering facilities. On a daily, weekly or monthly basis, teams of volunteers undertake track renewals, vegetation clearance and building maintenance.

Fitzrovia Youth in Action

Based in London, Fitzrovia Youth in Action (FYA) is Camden’s leading youth action charity. FYA provides a focus for nearly 300 young people in one of the UK’s most deprived areas to gain skills and confidence through volunteering activities which benefit the Camden Community, including sport, events, programmes and managing the Warren Centre Youth Action hub. Last year FYA was awarded the QAVS for supporting young people to create positive change in their communities and in their own lives.

Laide & Aultbea Community Woodland

Situated in a remote part of Wester Ross in Scotland, Laide & Aultbea Community Woodland is a community project for all ages which promotes education, conservation, health and wellbeing for the community and the local environment. Between 12 to 15 volunteers meet to work on the 215-acre wood for a day every week, contributing skills in engineering, ATV usage, felling and cross cutting trees, milling timber for use on the project and turning lower quality trees into firewood.

Laide & Aultbea Community Woodland were awarded the QAVS in 2019 for being “an outstanding example of volunteers in a community pulling together.” Over the last 17-years trails have been created, bridges built, a bird hide constructed and over 46,000 (mostly) broadleaf trees planted.  Group Leader, John Rippin, commented on winning the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service: “It’s helpful when applying for funding because it provides independent recognition of the role of volunteers in managing and maintaining LACW.”

North Belfast Harriers Athletics Club

North Belfast Harriers Athletics Club is one of Ireland’s oldest athletic clubs and is entirely run by its volunteers. Located in an area of exceptional multi-deprivation and educational under attainment, the Club not only functions as a highly successful athletics club, it also contributes to the physical and mental health, cohesion, resilience and wellbeing of the communities it serves. In recent times, significant attention has also been given to addressing gender balance within the club and to affording opportunity to people with disability. The Club were awarded the QAVS last year for empowering communities to improve their mental and physical health and wellbeing through athletics.

The River Manchester

Founded in 2013, The River Manchester offers support to survivors of domestic abuse in the form practical help, move to safety and training. Its primary focus is on supporting those fleeing domestic abuse and who may have lost their home, belongings, relationships, confidence and their dignity. What’s different and unique about the organisation is that beneficiaries get the whole package of support from one organisation and the model also benefits a much wider community at its doorstep. Volunteers are at the heart of the organisation and deliver most of the support and services.

When are The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service 2020 winners announced?

This year's winners of The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service will be announced in a special Gazette supplement on Tuesday 2 June 2020.

You can also find all The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service Gazette supplements, since the awards began in 2003, here

See also

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

The Queen's Awards for Enterprise

Find out more

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service (GOV.UK)

Image: Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway

Publication date: 29 May 2020