The Kings Award for Voluntary Service was formerly the Queens Award, created in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee and, following his accession, His Majesty The King emphasised his desire to continue the Award. The award, which is the highest a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE, was presented to 262 local groups in the UK last year – nominated by members of the public.

Just eight of those groups were in Lancashire, and only one in East Lancashire – the Official Accrington Stanley Supporters Trust. Local businessman Tony Grimshaw OBE, who sits on the assessment panel, is encouraging people to nominate their local volunteer groups to be recognised with this great honour. He commented, “I’ve sat on this panel for a number of years and I’m always blown away by the amount of time and effort volunteers give back to their communities.

“There are around 8,000 charities and volunteer groups across Lancashire, and they do such incredible work, I really feel they should be recognised for their achievements. The process to apply is simple, and can be done online – the panel then do the hard work in assessing the group and put them forward to the London office for consideration.

“The applications open on 1st June, running until the 15th September. Recipients are announced the following year after a thorough assessment process. If you know of a great volunteer group who deserve an award get their nomination in! It’s such a big honour to be recognised by the King and carry on Queen Elizabeth II’s legacy.”

Volunteer groups are nominated by members of the public, not by the groups themselves. If you know of a group who are doing impressive work for their community, please nominate them and highlight their great work to the King. Groups can be from a wide variety of causes, including supporting mental health, sports groups, the environment, cultural groups and many more.

The closing date for this year is 15th September 2024, then follows a period of assessment and due diligence by the awards panel. Between March and May 2025, National Assessors consider recommended groups and decide on a shortlist, which is then approved by King Charles III. Recipients are announced on 14th November 2025, The King’s Birthday, and will receive their award at a special ceremony in January 2026, with two members of the group invited to a Royal Garden Party in May 2026.

To qualify for a Kings Award for Voluntary Service, a group must be made up of at least 3 people, be led by volunteers, not paid staff, have been running for at least 3 years, and provide a direct benefit to their local communities. You can see more about the process on the Government website: