On Tuesday 28th November 2023 a special reception took place at Fishmongers’ Hall to celebrate the recipients of the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award. This one-off award recognised 20 national charities whose work empowers young people across the UK aged 16-25. HRH The Princess Royal attended this very special event, to present the awards and speak to all of the volunteers, alongside Minister Stuart Andrew, Sir Martyn Lewis CBE and esteemed members of the judging panel.
As 2022 marked both her Late Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee and the 20th anniversary of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary service, this special award was introduced to showcase the commitment and dedication of thousands of volunteers, mirroring the life-long dedication to public service displayed by her Late Majesty The Queen.
The judging process for the award took place in the summer of 2022, led by our highly experienced panel, including: Sir Martyn Lewis CBE (Chair), Baroness Tanni Gray-Thompson DBE DL, Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle DStJ, CBE LL, Ndidi Okezie OBE, George Thompson, Sarah Rossiter, Catriona Williams OBE and our two brilliant youth judges Ahmed Ibrahim and Zara Khan.
Whilst the awardees ranged from across the UK, what unites them is their commitment to young people that lies at the heart of their work. Each of the 20 groups receiving the award carries out exceptional work to support 16-25 year olds by creating opportunities for them to develop new skills and overcome challenges. Learn more about the outstanding recipients of the award here:
At Action Tutoring, the team helps young people facing disadvantage reach their full potential. They partner with schools across England to tackle the attainment gap, with tutoring delivered by 2000 volunteers.
Meanwhile, The British Red Cross supports all young people, in particular they operate a number of programmes to offer specific support to 16-25 year olds. Each year they measure how far young people believe their confidence and skills have increased as a direct result of volunteering with them through their RED (Recognise, Empower, Develop) accreditation scheme.
The team at Brook Young People supports young people by providing information, education, outreach and counselling on topics including sexual health, wellbeing and relationships. The support they provide is both confidential and professional. In partnership with Youth Offending Services they deliver targeted education to help reintegrate young offenders back into the community.
Working with young people across London, Manchester, Yorkshire and the North East, Centrepoint provides direct support to homeless young people. They provide a safe place to stay and help young people rebuild their lives, supporting mental and physical health, life skills, education, employment and training. They empower young people to have a voice and work with them to publish research and run campaigns that seek to improve the lives of young people and end youth homelessness.
City Year UK are empowering young adults by training them to spend a year full-time volunteering as tutors in school to support pupils who face difficulties in school. These young volunteers gain key skills to make a difference during the year, inspiring children from disadvantaged backgrounds and seeing the benefit of their hard work.
Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team supports young BME people, refugees and asylum seekers in Wales. They are currently running three projects, aiming to engage ethnic minority people aged 16-25, encouraging them to explore and document their experiences by creating films. Their work increases public awareness and appreciation of Wales’ diverse history and heritage.
Jewish Lads’ & Girls’ Brigade works with young people across England, Scotland and Wales, their goal is to engage with young people between the ages of 0-25 years. They specialise in removing barriers so that Jewish young people can play an active role in supporting British society with youth social action. This includes supporting young people with physical and learning difficulties, and providing single gender provisions for those from Ultra Orthodox communities.
In Scotland, LGBT Youth Scotland work to create safe spaces where LGBTI young people can explore their identities, learn new skills, gain new confidence and find community. Their 133 volunteers provide specialised support through youth groups, one to one support, youth commissions, an LGBT Charter Programme and an award-winning online community.
The 600 volunteers at The National Young Advocacy Service work to support children in care, care-leavers and care-experienced young people. They provide a range of services, from mentoring and advocacy to mental health and a free national helpline. They also offer an Independent Visitor Service, which offers long lasting friendship and support to children in care up to the age of 18, as well as the opportunity to take part in new and fun activities.
Established in 1999, the Ocean Youth Trust Scotland supports young people through sailing voyages lasting 5-7 days. These expeditions help to develop self-confidence, resilience and self-belief, in addition to earning academic and sailing qualifications. The ‘Change Tack with CashBack’ programme supports those from areas of deprivation who are at risk of reoffending, and their Young Carers project is designed to give young carers a respite from their caring duties and put them in touch with other carers through a peer to peer support network.
Start360 supports young people in 8 locations across Northern Ireland, facing challenges including isolation, trauma, addiction, violence, disability and unemployment. Their person-centred support received praise from the judges, in particular the peer support provided by young volunteers. They offer meaningful learning and development opportunities which incubate leadership skills, self-belief and self-value and above all personal agency.
The team at StreetGames engage with young people living in low-income communities, encouraging them to participate in sport and physical activity. Their flagship programme, entitled ‘Doorstep Sport’ provides accessible and affordable opportunities for young people to get involved in informal sport within their local community. They go further to support young people by offering volunteering and leadership roles, which involve helping to run sessions as well as gaining mentoring and administration experience, simultaneously this approach helps to improve the offer of sports available within the community.
Volunteers at The British Youth Council empowers young people to make political and social change. Led by the UK Youth Parliament, The Make Your Mark consultation is an annual ballot allowing young people across the UK to vote on issues that matter to them. Additionally, their Youth Steering Group invites young people to participate in 26 roundtable discussions on topical issues such as climate change, gambling, youth violence and mental health.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award supports 16-25 year olds by helping them develop new skills, get outdoors and volunteer in communities. The activities they offer allow everyone to shine regardless of background or academic ability. They also run a Young Ambassadors programme which recruits 30 young people each year from a range of backgrounds and experiences to take part in a 12 month programme. This programme involves training and personal development, co-designing projects and campaigns, and opportunities to represent the charity in the media and at events.
Working with young people across the UK, The National Deaf Children’s Society ensures no deaf child is left behind at school, in their community or at home. They provide expert, unbiased support to help deaf children and their parents make informed choices. Their services also engage with the ‘hearing’ community including family members, community leaders, teachers and professionals.
The Scouts help young people speak up and gain skills for life, open to all genders, LGBTQIA+ and members of all faiths (and no faith) and ethnic backgrounds. They offer a number of programmes including their Young Leaders’ Scheme to give young people a first taste of volunteering and help them develop new skills and confidence. Additionally, they partner with National Citizen Service to help more young people get involved with the NCS programme. By partnering with Girlguiding they also support new members and volunteers.
The Social Mobility Foundation supports 16-25 year olds through their incredible Aspiring Professionals Programme, which works with over 2000 corporate partners including KPMG and the Home Office. This programme provides amazing opportunities to students who don’t have the resources and networks available to them to pursue higher education. Through mentoring and work experience placements they offer tailored support across 11 career sections, unlocking the potential of young people.
With over 1000 volunteer ambassadors, The Springboard Charity helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to take their first all important step on the employment ladder. They offer training, mentoring, advice and work placements in the hospitality and leisure sectors to those facing disadvantage, additionally meeting the needs of a busy sector.
YMCA England & Wales provides young people with the critical foundations for a better quality of life by offering support with housing, education and welfare. They provide a home to more than 20,000 people experiencing homelessness each year, making them the largest voluntary sector provider of supported housing for young people in England and Wales.
Meanwhile, The Scottish National Council YMCA works with young people across Scotland to achieve their vision, which is about community wellbeing, meaningful work, a sustainable planet and a just world. Their programmes support young people through mentoring and peer support.
At YouthAction Northern Ireland, the team are working to increase volunteering and leadership skills. They contribute to peace building in young people and helping young people develop ‘first step’ employment related skills, they also have Radio YNP which is managed and run by young people, offering podcasts and the development of PR and broadcasting skills.
The reception was a fantastic opportunity for volunteers to reflect on the incredible work they undertake everyday to support young people across the country. All the volunteers and youth representatives had the chance to speak with HRH The Princess Royal, the judging panel and other groups. Everyone came away from this special event with new enthusiasm and energy to continue their brilliant work.
The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award was a one-off award recognising groups with a national reach; however, The King’s Award for Voluntary Service is an annual award recognising the wonderful grassroots work of volunteering groups at a local level. Find out more about the King’s Award.