Seven outstanding Cumbrian voluntary groups receive a King’s Award for Voluntary Service

14 November 2023

It has today (14 November) been announced that the following volunteer-led groups have been honoured with the King’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK - the MBE for volunteer groups:

  • BEEP Doctors
  • Cumbria Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs
  • Kirkgate Arts and Heritage
  • Maryport Inshore Rescue
  • Maryport Solway Sea Cadets
  • Self-Harm Awareness For All (SAFA)
  • Susan’s Farm

262 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups have this year received the prestigious award. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that nationally the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.

The successful organisations will receive a certificate signed by HM The King and a glass crystal which will be presented by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Cumbria, Mr Alexander Scott. Furthermore, two volunteers from each group will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in 2024, along with other recipients of this year’s award.

The King’s Award for Voluntary Service is an annual award made to recognise and reward the most exceptional and innovative groups who provide voluntary-led activities in the community.

It is a highly competitive and prestigious award and only about half of the nominations can expect to succeed. The launch of the award was announced in 2002 as part of the celebrations for The Queen’s Golden Jubilee and was first known as The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award.

Any group of three or more people delivering outstanding voluntary work can be nominated for the award. Most importantly, the group must be volunteer-led and the majority of the group must be volunteers. More than half the volunteers must have the right to live in the UK. The groups should also have been operating for three or more years to be eligible.

To be nominated they should do work that:

  • provides a service and meets a need for people living in the local community.
  • is supported, recognised and respected by the local community and the people who benefit from it.
  • is run locally.

For further details about the award and how to nominate, visit The King's Award for Voluntary Service overview.

His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Cumbria, Mr. Alexander Scott said:

“The King’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest accolade for any voluntary organisation and I am thrilled that so many in Cumbria have achieved this exceptional national recognition. I would like to thank those recognised for their tireless work and commitment to the communities they serve. I warmly congratulate them. They are all thoroughly deserving of this singular recognition.

“I am also immensely grateful to the many other voluntary groups across Cumbria doing excellent, innovative work, enhancing the lives and experiences of many in their local communities. I hope that this will prompt more nominations for next year’s round of awards.”

BEEP Doctors provide critical emergency care to casualties beyond the level possible by ambulance/paramedic staff. They carry specialist equipment to use at the scene of incidents, stabilising patients before removal by ambulance to hospital. Their work is wholly voluntary and in addition to normal duties.

The Cumbria Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs is a democratic charitable youth organisation, run by members for members. Its members have the opportunity to learn new skills, take on responsibilities and organise events and activities for fellow young farmers within a safe and supportive environment. Older members mentor younger members, ensuring a robust support network for all.

Kirkgate Arts and Heritage is an entertainment, cultural and community venue in Cockermouth. They provide professional live music, theatre and cinema along with heritage activities and a weekly youth theatre group. Their spaces are used by many other community groups. They also run ‘Arts Out West’ with village halls throughout West Cumbria.

Maryport Inshore Rescue save the lives of both people, animals and property in danger. They have the training and expertise to support other emergency services: Coastguard; Police; Fire; Ambulance; Air Ambulance, and educate schools and community groups about water safety. They also undertake training, maintenance of their property, boats, vehicles and equipment, and fundraising.

Maryport Solway Sea Cadets promote the development of young people in order to achieve their physical, intellectual and social potential as individuals. They provide opportunities for young people to obtain qualifications and community involvement, and deliver a structured environment in which to develop.

Self-Harm Awareness For All (SAFA) is based in Barrow and provides high quality counselling for those who are self-harming and their families. Self-harm includes a wide range of behaviours from over/under eating, excessive consumption of drugs or alcohol, and other excesses such as work and exercise. The resulting harms can manifest themselves in many ways from depression to physical self-harm.

Susan’s Farm provides Care Farming to a small number of vulnerable beneficiaries as well as providing educational visits for local primary and secondary schools, and visits for other community organisations including the Girlguides and Scouts, and the general public.