This year, The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) is running a special additional award to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee. This award has been set up to recognise excellent charities working at the national level to empower young people (16 to 25) and provide them with skills and opportunities, with volunteers playing a key role in delivering this work.


Volunteers seldom seek the limelight for themselves, yet what they do promotes and contributes significantly to the wellbeing of others and worthwhile causes that might otherwise be overlooked, or worse still, decline. Somerset is no exception in having a significant number of voluntary organisations that serve our community in a myriad of outstanding ways.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was set up to recognise such groups.

Receiving an award

It is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK and was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of The Queen’s coronation. It is the MBE for volunteer groups. The announcement of awards is made in June each year.

Any group doing volunteer work that provides a social, economic or environmental service to the local community can be nominated for the award. Initial nominations are processed by the Lieutenancy Office whose details are on this website and involve a panel of Deputy Lieutenants who prepare citations for the Lord Lieutenant to forward to the Honours and Awards Committee in London. Each group is assessed on their own merits on the benefit it brings to the local community and its standing within that community.

Nominations open on 1 April each year and need to be submitted by September of the year before the award for example, Sep 2019 for a 2020 award.

How to nominate a group

Find full guidance and details on how to nominate on The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service website

The Award

The Lord Lieutenant, as Her Majesty’s representative, presents each group with a:

  • certificate signed by The Queen and,
  • a commemorative crystal at a local ceremony.

Significantly, award recipients are entitled to use The Queen’s Award emblem on their website, stationery and other printed material.

Each successful group is also allocated two places at the annual Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London or the Palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh.

Previous Somerset Recipients

Somerset Recipients – QAVS

Award Criteria

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) Summary – A brief summary of the award that explains what we are looking for.

QAVS Eligibility Criteria for 2023 round – A full description of the QAVS eligibility criteria (Please note: the criteria have not changed this year, but we have re-phrased them to make them clearer).