Queen’s award for Voluntary Service before this year’s 25 September deadline.

This prestigious UK National Honour, which has the equivalent status to the MBE, recognises the exceptional contribution made to local communities by groups voluntarily devoting their time for the benefit of others.  In June this year, nine outstanding Lancashire groups were announced as amongst the recipients of the 2020 Award from nominations made from across the UK.  These groups were nominated by members of the public.

Although the window for 2021 nominations has been open since April, there is still time to submit a nomination before the closing date of 25 September.  Nominations can be made by visiting https://qavs.culture.gov.uk/ 

Mr Terry Hephrun, Deputy Lieutenant and Chairman of the Lancashire Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Advisory Panel, said:  “I was delighted to see Lancashire have a record number of nominations and successes in the 2020 Awards; nine organisations from across the County were successful.  In normal circumstances, these Awards would have already been presented by the Lord-Lieutenant at a County Hall Ceremony but, understandably, that is on hold for the time being.  The Lancashire Panel has been working hard to sustain that momentum for next year. 

“The Award recognises excellence in volunteering and the nine chosen organisations are great examples of the strong voluntary sector we have in Lancashire.  This year has been a demanding one for all of us, but the voluntary sector has responded magnificently to the challenges presented by the pandemic. Voluntary Groups in Lancashire deserve to be recognised.  

“In the eighteen years since it was created by Her Majesty to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee in 2002, seventy groups from Lancashire have received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

“Past winners report that receiving the Award has enhanced their reputation, encouraged pride in their volunteers, helped with recruitment and even made a difference to fundraising.”

This year’s winners from Lancashire are:

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.