QAVS LogoThree voluntary sector groups in West Glamorgan have been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK - Matthew’s House, Rising Stars Theatre Company and Friends of Swansea Botanical Complex in Swansea!

In all 241 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups from across the UK received the award this year.

Matthew’s House in the former St Matthew’s Church in Swansea’s High street, provides a warm, welcoming place in the city, which is open and accessible to homeless and vulnerable people in the community.  Matt’s Café at Matthew’s House runs a community café using donations of unwanted food from local business and the public.  During the Covid-19 lockdown with Zac’s Place they led the amazing ‘Swansea Together’ pandemic response and delivered over 14,000 hot meals to vulnerable people in the city.

In recognition of this Matthew’s House has also been awarded the Special Covid Award.

The Rising Stars Theatre Company runs a drama group for children, adolescents and adults with physical and learning disabilities from Swansea and the surrounding area. Formed 12 years ago, it provides a safe space for disabled young people to gain skills and experience in the performing arts and learn a range of life skills and social skills. The Company puts on shows as the Taliesin and Pontardawe Theatre which are hugely popular with the public. 

The Group continued with on line activities and for this they too have been awarded the Special Covid Award.

Friends of the City of Swansea Botanical Complex in Singleton Park is well known to many gardening enthusiasts. 70,000 people have visited over the last 26 years enjoying the beautiful gardens and buying plants grown entirely by volunteers. Volunteering at the botanic gardens has helped to rehabilitate stroke victims, cancer patients, and people suffering with mental health issues. During Covid the Friends sold their plants through local shops and donated the food grown in the vegetable garden to foodbanks.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

The groups will receive their award crystal and certificate from Lord-Lieutenant of West Glamorgan, Louise Fleet later this summer. Furthermore, two volunteers from each group will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2022 (depending on restrictions at the time).

Lord-Lieutenant Louise Fleet commented “These Awards are great news for the voluntary sector in West Glamorgan and I am delighted that the work of these groups has been recognised in this way; during our assessment visit we were impressed by the commitment, dedication and passion of the volunteers. They are all quite outstanding.

The window for the 2022 nominations is open until 15th September 2021, so if you know of a voluntary group that deserves recognition for its work please nominate them. I very much hope that we will be celebrating more winners from West Glamorgan in 2022 in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Year”.

SCVS Director Amanda Carr said “We are delighted for Matthew’s House, Rising Stars Theatre Company and Friends of Swansea Botanical Complex, and congratulate them on their very well-deserved award! In what has been an extraordinarily challenging 18 months for the sector, receiving the Queen’s Award shines a light on the wonderful work volunteer led organisations undertake, and highlights the dedication of volunteers. If you have been positively impacted by a local group, please consider nominating them to receive the Award in 2022”.

Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteer groups from across the UK, including an inclusive tennis club in Lincolnshire; a children’s bereavement charity in London; a support group for those living with dementia and their carers in North Yorkshire; a volunteer minibus service in Cumbria; a group supporting young people in Belfast; a community radio station in Inverness and a mountain rescue team in Powys.

Find out more about the Queen’s award, and how to nominate by clicking here