Three Essex Voluntary Groups receive The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services

6th June 2022

Three voluntary groups from across the county who work in the community have been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services (QAVS) aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.

Representatives of the groups receive the QAVS Award Crystal and a QAVS Certificate signed by Her Majesty the Queen from Her Majesty’s representative in the County, the Lord Lieutenant at a local ceremony. Two volunteers from the winning groups are invited to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in the summer of this year, along with other recipients of this award.

The three winning groups from Essex are:

  • Brighter Opportunities for Special People (BOSP), Pitsea, Basildon – Has been in existence for over 30 years. Its volunteers support families who have children or young people with complex disabilities or life limiting conditions. The group provide a wide range of fun social activities and support services for 113 young people and over 250 parents, carers and siblings who receive vital respite.
  • Brentwood Imperial Youth Band – Was formed over 30 years ago and is run entirely by volunteers who give over 11,000 hours a year to support young musicians who perform in the UK and overseas. The high standard of musicianship and performance excellence is truly remarkable and rates the band as one of the finest in the world.
  • The Listening Post CIC, Basildon – Opened in 2016 to help meet a growing demand for mental health support. It provides one to one counselling services and unlike other counselling services, there is no waiting list, no limit to the number of sessions a client can have, and no issue that cannot be covered. Reduced rate sessions are offered based on disposable income, many are given free of charge, and nobody is turned away.

The three groups from Essex are amongst 244 charities, social enterprises, and volunteer-led groups to receive the prestigious award this year across the UK. The number of nominations remains high year on year showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.

This award is given to volunteer groups across the UK to recognise exceptional service within their communities. The recipients of the award are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.  The QAVS is considered as the MBE for voluntary groups.

The three Essex winners will receive the prestigious Award from Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, Lord Lieutenant of Essex, later this year at presentation events organised to bring together the volunteers, those who receive the service, and other connected to the winning group.

Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, Lord Lieutenant of Essex said: “The announcement of three winners of the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services, the highest national award for voluntary groups, across Essex is a wonderful tribute to the outstanding work of the voluntary sector. The number of awards won across Essex speaks volumes for the excellence of volunteering in our county and the increasing importance of the work of volunteers for community wellbeing. I am delighted that three extremely deserving groups, who are providing a wide range of services to our communities have been honoured by Her Majesty the Queen. I look forward to presenting the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services to each of the groups over the coming months, and to celebrate their success with their volunteers and many who receive their excellent service.

“I would also like to encourage all who know of outstanding voluntary groups doing outstanding work in their communities to go on to the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services website and nominate those groups for this wonderful award”.

Jodie Connelly, Chief Executive Officer of BOSP, said: “We feel really humbled and honoured to receive this award. BOSP is a small charity, aiming to prevent crisis in local families and enable children with disabilities to have the best time.  Without the support of the community, this wouldn’t be possible. I feel the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services recognises this. To me it’s a huge official ‘thank you’ to all our volunteers and supporters in recognition of their hard work and commitment to BOSP”.

Johnpaul Wyndom, Musical Director of the Brentwood Youth Band, said: “Our team of volunteers commit hours upon hours of support, in a marvellous variation of forms, to make the band a possibility for our beneficiaries. They all do so with no reward and often with little recognition. To receive a QAVS award, especially in the Platinum Jubilee year, reminds us of the invaluable contribution made by our wonderful team, their dedicated service and what is possible when empowered by the unrelenting energy of volunteers”

Alison Cunningham, Founder and Director of The Listening Post CIC, said: “The Listening Post CIC is honoured to be awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services. The award highlights the considerable achievements of our volunteers through very difficult and challenging times. It recognises the dedication, commitment, and passion of our volunteers who believe that supporting people with their mental health can and does make fundamental and long-lasting changes to the lives of those they support”.