Four Essex Voluntary Groups receive The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services for 2021

Four Essex Voluntary Groups receive The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services for 2021

Four 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 May 2022 (depending on restrictions at the time), along with other recipients of this award.

The four winning groups from Essex are:

  • Abberton Rural Training: this group provide local land based skills for vulnerable and isolated individuals and families in Essex.
  • BATIAS Independent Advocacy Service: this group support people with learning disabilities to have their voices heard and inspire positive changes to lives, enabling those they support to become active citizens, and provide new life opportunities.
  • Essex Police Special Constabulary: this group have over 520 volunteers who provide almost 204,000 hours of volunteer policing for the communities of Essex.
  • Citizens Advice Southend: this group provide free, confidential and impartial advice to a wide range of people many of whom live in deprived areas.


The four groups from Essex are amongst 241 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 four Essex winners will receive the Award from Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, Lord Lieutenant of Essex, later this year subject to the Covid restrictions at the time.

Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, Lord Lieutenant of Essex said:

“The announcement of four 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 four 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, when the present restrictions allow, and to celebrate their success with their volunteers and many who receive their excellent service”.

Jacqui Stone, Chief Executive Officer of Abberton Rural Training said:

“Being awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service is incredible.  Our volunteers work so hard and we truly couldn’t manage without them – from assisting participants, providing a much needed ear, being a trustee, helping with strategy, events, marketing and logistics – physically sorting and delivering resources particularly with our Stay At Home Grow Your Own project which made such a difference to so many families during COVID.  This award shows all concerned that they are valuable, appreciated and recognised for the incredible difference they make.”

Georgina Parkin, Chief Officer of BATIAS Independent Advocacy said:

“BATIAS are delighted to be honoured with this prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services for the fantastic work done by our volunteers. Our volunteers work with many of the most disadvantaged in our community, creating opportunities, changing lives and improving communities. We value our volunteers immensely and what makes the award extra special is that our volunteers do not seek recognition, their reward is the positive contribution they make to those who they work with”.

Superintendent Shaun Kane, Head of Local Policing for Essex Police said:

“For the Essex Special Constabulary to have won the QAVS 2021, has been a sense of gratitude, pride and inspiration. These feelings have reverberated across the entire volunteer service with the Special Constabulary’s dedication to the people and communities in Essex; committed to helping people, keeping people safe and catching criminals. To know that the support provided by our Specials has positively contributed to policing and people’s lives, has meant the world to be recognised in this way. A fantastic acknowledgement and achievement which reflects the positive culture being achieved, with Essex having the fastest growing Special Constabulary in the country, pushing the boundaries of inclusivity within the police service, and consistently demonstrating our values in community based policing. Thank You from us all”.

Rizwana Awan, Chief Executive Officer of Southend Citizens Advice said:

“This is such an honour and privilege for all of our volunteers to be recognised by the award of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services for the work they do relentlessly and dedicated their time to Citizens Advice Southend during, firstly this challenging period of the pandemic and secondly always showing compassion towards the clients and the community of Southend.  Without them we would not be able to do the work and be in the position that we are in today.  I thank each and every volunteer who works for us and the work they do for all organisations within Southend.”

Jamie Langstone