Local volunteers who make a real difference to their communities could see their work recognised in the Honours system as the British Empire Medal (BEM) will be re-introduced, announced Prime Minister David Cameron today.
The BEM will be based on merit as with the other awards in the Honours system. It will normally be awarded on behalf of The Queen by the Lord Lieutenant of the relevant County or Local Authority. All those awarded BEMs will also be invited to a Royal Garden Party.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
There are some really exceptional people who make a real difference to their communities through volunteering and fundraising that should be properly celebrated and recognised.
We want more people to be part of the Honours system and would encourage communities to nominate the people they know who deserve special recognition for the invaluable work they are doing in our society.
The first BEM awards will be made at the same time as the Diamond Jubilee Honours Lists in June 2012 and it is expected that eventually there will be up to 270 to 300 BEMs awarded in each Honours round.
The BEM was established in 1917 as part of the Order of the British Empire. It was intended to be awarded for meritorious public or voluntary service, particularly to local communities, for those who did not qualify to be made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).
BEMs entitle the recipient to use post-nominal letters.