Royal Holloway, University of London’s Community Action has been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service - the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK.
This achievement recognises Community Action’s work in helping build strong communities by inspiring students to volunteer and lead projects to support local organisations.
The scheme provides 7,000 volunteer hours each year to over 250 partners primarily within Surrey, including schools, day centres, and branches of charities including Age UK and The National Trust.
Phil Simcock, Community Action Volunteer Manager and wife, Tracey arrive at Buckingham Palace to celebrate with other QAVS groups
At the centre of the community
On the award's announcement , Professor Paul Layzell, Principal of Royal Holloway said, “Community is at Royal Holloway’s heart, and this sense of togetherness extends well beyond our campus.”
“Volunteering is a key part of our unique student experience, building real skills and lasting relationships between students and the people they help. I am proud to see the difference students make and am delighted by the warm feedback I get from the community about their creative and diverse initiatives to make our area a better place. Well done to all our volunteers and the team that supports them.”
Building skills within an award-winning initiative
Community Action was recognised not only for its contribution to its local community, but also in equipping volunteers with the skills they need to lead successful programmes.
“This fantastic award recognises student volunteers’ many achievements over the last ten years and is testament to the value we place on supporting and inspiring all in our community to work together for the better,” commented Phil Simcock, Community Action Volunteer Manager.
“Volunteering is not only personally rewarding, but also professionally valuable,” he added.
“Our volunteers are leaders, supported in personal development and given opportunities to work with corporates such as British Airways and Enterprise Rent-A-Car to ensure skills are harnessed for future aspirations.”
An award that celebrates partnership
Solette Sheppardson of Voluntary Support North Surrey led the nomination with Suzanne Stronge, Partnership and Policy Development Officer, Runnymede Borough Council,supporting who said,
“Our community is home to a very diverse demographic and there are areas of very true need. Community Action is very real asset to our community, and provides wonderful ambassadors for Royal Holloway and the student body in general. Not only do they provide for the community as a whole, but they work to equip their volunteers with skills and experience they can take on well after their degrees.”
Fellow supporter of the nomination, Dawn George from Age UK, added,
“The range of services Community Action provide is superb, and the enthusiasm with which volunteers deliver these schemes is fantastic. The support the volunteers get means they come ready to make a difference, equipped with skills that benefit older people who may be isolated or unable to perform tasks.”
Learn more about the award winning team - and get involved!
Royal Holloway Community Action was also awarded the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community for its round-the-clock response and support for the Runnymede community hit by severe flooding in 2014.
Created by The Queen in 2002 to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee, this latest award recognises excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community. It is the MBE for volunteer groups and chaired by Sir Martyn Lewis CBE.
Find out more about how to get involved as a volunteer, or partner of Community Action.