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Three Surrey volunteer groups honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2022 

The volunteers from three Surrey groups, who dedicate their valuable time and experience to help individuals and communities across this county, have been rewarded with the prestigious 2022 Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) announced on 2 June. This is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE.

Welcoming the announcement, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More-Molyneux, congratulated the winning groups and highlighted the outstanding contribution made by these volunteers, who this year represent all ages, ethnicities and diversity across our local communities. The three groups are among the 244 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. Their work, along with others from across the UK, reminds us of all the ways in which dedicated and exceptional volunteers are contributing to their local communities and working to make life better for those around them.

The volunteer groups honoured with the 2022 Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service are from:

The Lighthouse, Woking

The Lighthouse is a vibrant hub in the centre of Woking that hosts a diverse range of projects to support, encourage, and empower those who find themselves on the margins. A large and derelict building earmarked for demolition has been lovingly refurbished and revitalised into a community space that’s filled with kindness, belief and hope. Run primarily on the generosity of donations and volunteers, The Lighthouse tackles deprivation and isolation, providing food, clothing, training, friendship and much more, transforming lives towards well-being, independence and hope.

Sight for Surrey

Sight for Surrey offers a lifetime of support to over 8,000 people living in Surrey who are blind, partially sighted, deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing. We were founded in 1922, when we first started assisting vision impaired soldiers returning from war and we have continued to help people in Surrey with a sight and/or hearing loss ever since.

Our aim is to support people to overcome their day-to-day challenges and lead an independent life. We are here for individuals and their family, providing specialist hands-on practical support tailored to their needs.

Include.org

Include.org is a small charity based in Redhill, breaking down barriers for people with communication disabilities. Include provides speech and language therapy based training and support in creative ways. Services include:

• The Include Choir (an inclusive choir for people with and without learning disabilities and autism which teaches Makaton signing and other communication skills)

• Champions Coproduction Group – which co-creates training and easy read resources and works in partnership with other organisations to review materials for accessibility

• Stroll and Sign Groups – which promote wellbeing, exercise and contact with nature, while providing opportunities for communication and inclusion

The Award itself – a certificate signed by the Queen and a domed crystal – will be presented to each winning group over the coming months by Surrey’s Lord-Lieutenant or a representative Deputy Lieutenant, on behalf of HM The Queen. In addition, two volunteers from each group will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2023, along with other national recipients of this year’s Award.

The Lord-Lieutenant commented: “The work that these groups do for the benefit of their local community or across this county is quite outstanding.  And across all three groups, if it were not for the volunteers’ tireless work and commitment – and the dedication to the good of others which they represent – the services they provide would not happen. I am delighted that these extraordinary contributions to the welfare of the people of Surrey have been recognised nationally.” 

The Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Sir Stephen Lamport, chairs the county’s QAVS Local Panel, which is made-up of experienced assessors and an editor. They interviewed every nominated group remotely between October and December 2021 before sending their findings to the National Award Committee, which makes the final recommendations to the Cabinet Office and ultimately to HM The Queen.

2023 volunteer nominations now open

Following the announcement of this year’s winners, Sir Stephen extended an invitation to Surrey residents to nominate groups of deserving volunteers for the Queen’s Awards for Voluntary Service 2023. Nominations are now open online and nominators have until 5 pm on 15 September 2022 to submit. Full details of how to proceed and a nomination form are available online at: https://qavs.dcms.gov.uk/

For more information contact: Mrs Caroline Breckell MVO DL, The Lieutenancy Office, Estate Office, Loseley Park, Guildford GU3 1HS; tel: 0208 541 9127 or 07968 334549; email: caroline.breckell@surreycc.gov.uk 

Editor’s notes:

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) recognises outstanding work done by volunteers in their own communities. It is the highest national award presented to local volunteer groups across the UK. Created in 2002 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of HM The Queen’s Coronation, it is regarded as the MBE for volunteer groups and is awarded for the lifetime of an organisation.

Surrey has a wealth of excellent volunteer groups. Many of them have already been honoured with this Queen’s Award, in recognition of the exemplary contribution that they make. To be nominated they must do work that:

  • provides a service and meets a need for people living in the local community;
  • is supported, recognised and respected by the local community and the people who benefit from it;
  • is run locally.

To be eligible for QAVS nomination, a volunteer group must:

•  comprise two or more people;
•  have been operational for a minimum of three years;
•  have volunteers as the critical mass, occupying at least 50% of roles –
   although there may be some paid staff, where relevant;

•  ensure that over 50% of its volunteers have the right of residence in the UK;

•  have the appropriate insurance(s) required for its work;
•  satisfy the most up-to-date requirements for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, wherever relevant. 

Each nomination is first assessed by the Surrey Lord-Lieutenant’s Local Assessment Panel. Its findings are sent to the National Award Committee. This committee makes recommendations to the Cabinet Office, which sends a final list to HM The Queen for her approval.

Winners are announced on 2nd June each year.

For any guidance regarding a Surrey nomination, individuals should email caroline.breckell@surreycc.gov.uk 

Lord-Lieutenants represent the Monarch in each of the UK’s ceremonial counties.

This year there were 244 recipients of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

from across the UK and Channel Islands.

More information on the recipients and the Award can be found at https://qavs.dcms.gov.uk/.

Full details on how to nominate are available at https://qavs.dcms.gov.uk/

Nominations for the 2023 awards close on 15 September 2022.

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