Winners of the 2021 Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

The winners of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) have been announced for 2021. We spoke to five of this year’s winners to see what the award means to them.

Queen's Award Voluntary Service Winners 2021

What is The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service?

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) is the highest award given to UK volunteer groups and recognises exceptional work done by volunteer groups in their communities.

Winners of The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service receive a certificate signed by the Queen, as well as a domed glass crystal. They will also be able to nominate two representatives to attend a Royal Garden Party.

Who won The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service in 2021?

A total of 241 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups from across the UK were awarded The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service in 2021 (Gazette issue 63366). 164 of the awardees will also receive a special designation recognising impactful support provided to their community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We take a closer look at five of this year’s winners of The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service:

Mothers for Mothers

Mothers for Mothers

Founded in 1981, Bristol-based Mothers for Mothers are a group of mothers, who offer support to families affected by maternal mental illness from pregnancy to childhood. Mother for Mothers’ services are designed, developed and delivered by women with lived experience of maternal mental illness and provide peer support, promoting wellbeing and reducing social isolation to ensure women and children are well, enjoy healthy relationships and can engage in the wider community.

Maria Viner, Chief Executive Officer of Mothers for Mothers, said on winning the award: “Mothers for Mothers are delighted to have been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. It recognises the dedication, commitment and passion of all of the women with a lived experience of maternal mental illness who have generously given their time, skills and compassion for 40 years.We are so proud that our wonder team have been honoured in this way. It is very emotional to think about all the families that they have supported. The women who we walk alongside on their journey to recovery are the inspiration for all that we do. This honours their bravery.

NECA Gardens

NECA Community Garden

NECA Community Garden provides versatile learning opportunities for individuals and groups that includes woodwork, gardening (planting, growing fruit and vegetables, maintaining the land) and caring for animals (chickens, ducks, frogs) through 14 different allotments merged to create an open plan space. The garden works with groups, such as mental health recovery support and women’s groups, as well as young people with autism and learning disabilities, to improve health and wellbeing.

Norman Richardson, NECA Chairman, said: “We are immensely proud of our volunteers and are extremely honoured to be awarded the highest of accolades from The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The award highlights the considerable commitment and achievements of our volunteers through what has been some very difficult and challenging times. We are grateful that members of our community took the time to nominate our volunteer group and we hope that we can continue to make a positive impact for local people in South Shields.”

Fivemiletown FC

Fivemiletown United Football Club

Founded in early 1888, Fivemiletown United Football Club is one of the oldest clubs in Northern Ireland, offering sport to young people and adults of all abilities and backgrounds. Although the main focus is football, the club’s contribution to its local community is outstanding, with its 40 volunteers not only providing a much-needed recreational facility in an isolated area of deprivation, but also encouraging community participation through the likes of litter-picking.

Mike Long, Club Secretary of Fivemiletown United Football Club, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. At Fivemiletown United, we believe that football is for everyone, regardless of their age, ability or background. We are a community club with a community spirit. We believe all children should have the opportunity to play organised football in a fun and safe environment. To receive the highest award any voluntary group can be awarded is just amazing and we are very proud.”

West Highland Trust Museum

West Highland Museum Trust

The West Highland Museum in Fort William was founded in 1922 by a group of Lochaber folk who wanted to create a museum of and for the West Highlands, making the heritage and culture of Lochaber accessible to all. The group’s services and activities include the everyday operation of the museum, such as guided tours and site management, as well as organising museum collections and display work. The group offers opportunities for all ages within the community to gain work experience and build skills.

Ian Peter MacDonald, Chairman of West Highland Museum, said: “The West Highland Museum are delighted that the value of their volunteers has been recognised with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The volunteers who support our museum range from board members to acknowledged experts who give their time and intellect freely. The bulk of our volunteers are local enthusiasts who welcome the visitor to the museum with pride, knowledge and a generous smile. The museum provides a stimulating activity for an often-retired community where they enjoy their companionship with their colleagues, enjoy engaging with the visitor and where they can enjoy learning a little more every day.”

Colwyn Gateway Club

Colwyn Gateway Club

Colwyn Gateway Club and its team of volunteers in the Clwyd region of Wales organise weekly meetings, days out, entertainment, coach trips and short breaks which provide essential friendship and support to 63 adults with learning and/or physical disabilities. As an entirely volunteer based organisation, the Colwyn Gateway Club is delivering an extraordinary service, providing a safe and friendly place for disabled adults.

On receiving the award, David Paul Wild of Colwyn Gateway Club said: “We are absolutely delighted to win this award and it is a fabulous recognition of the work our volunteers do for adults with learning/physical disabilities. The founder of our club, Mrs Pat Thomas sadly passed away in January this year and she would have been the proudest person on earth for the club to receive this award. This award will be dedicated to the memory of a truly wonderful lady.”

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)

Publication date: 2 June 2021

Any opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and the author alone, and does not necessarily represent that of The Gazette.