112 outstanding UK volunteering groups are today honoured as recipients of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2012.
This unique UK national honour was created by Her Majesty to mark the Golden Jubilee in 2002 and to recognise the outstanding contributions made to local communities by groups of volunteers; it has an equivalent status for voluntary groups as the MBE has for individuals.
To mark the tenth anniversary of this Award, Her Majesty is pleased to announce its 1,000th recipient The Blue Apple Theatre Group in Hampshire, whose volunteers are involved with people of all abilities, enabling them to take part in theatre, arts and film productions, locally and on tour.
The Award is overseen by the Cabinet Office. Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society said:
It gives me great pleasure to congratulate all this year’s winners of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. Volunteers make a huge difference across our society and should be recognised for their selfless dedication - they are an inspiration to others to get involved and make their own positive impact.
Dame Mary Fagan, DCVO, JP, HM’s Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire said:
I am thrilled that the special national award for the 1000th Recipient of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service has been given to The Blue Apple Theatre Company, Winchester. It is testament to the hard work and dedication of Mrs Jane Jessop, Founding Director, her staff and team of volunteers.
This prestigious UK National Honour recognises and sets the national benchmark for excellence in volunteering, with the work of those awarded being judged to be of the highest standard.
Those receiving the Award this year were selected from 250 groups nominated by members of the public who have seen the difference the volunteers have made to the lives of others or witnessed the benefits of a group’s work in their community.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Award Committee Chair, former broadcast journalist Martyn Lewis CBE added:
In this Diamond Jubilee Year the judges have been hugely impressed by the many imaginative ways that volunteers are coming together to help build and sustain the fabric of our society. They are proof that in these difficult times the community spirit is alive and well right across the UK.
Jane Jessop, Founding Director of Blue Apple Theatre said:
Blue Apple Theatre is a highly ambitious theatre company which brings all the personal, social and creative benefits of taking part in theatre, dance and film to adult performers with learning disabilities, and enables them to present high quality productions to the widest possible audiences.
We are a small team and rely on volunteers, which is why I am so grateful that their amazing commitment and help over the years has been recognised by this wonderful award. They help us change lives, challenge prejudice and promote understanding between people from different communities.
Recipients will receive a certificate signed by The Queen and an exclusive commemorative crystal, which will be presented by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenants. The Lieutenant Governors of the Islands of Jersey and Guernsey will also make individual presentations.
In an additional connection with the Diamond Jubilee, a past winner of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service will be among hundreds of organisations participating in this Sunday’s Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. Rutland Sailability, a charity which enables disabled people to experience the freedom of sailing, have embroidered the purple crown of the Queen’s Award logo at the top of the sails of their boat, the Wally Goldsmith.
For details of all this year’s Award winners and information on how to nominate a group, visit www.direct.gov.uk/qavs Nominations for 2013 are now being accepted, the closing date is 30 September 2012.
Notes to Editors
1. Blue Apple Theatre is a highly ambitious theatre company which brings all the personal, social and creative benefits of taking part in theatre, dance and film to adult performers with learning disabilities, and enables them to present high quality productions to the widest possible audiences. They have a very small team of part time paid staff and rely on volunteers every area of their work.
2. Rutland Sailability was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2010. As a recipient they have been granted the privilege of displaying the insignia of this award, a purple crown, which has been embroidered on the sails of the boat they will be entering into the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. The 22ft. long boat, named the Wally Goldsmith, will appear at the back of the Recreational Motorised Section Flotilla 7.