The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service is an annual award made to recognise and reward excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community.
The award was announced in 2002 as part of celebrations for The Queen's Golden Jubilee, and was first known as The Queen's Golden Jubilee Award.
It is given for outstanding achievement by groups of volunteers who regularly devote their time to helping others in the community, improving the quality of life and opportunity for others and providing an outstanding service.
Groups must be nominated: for example, by beneficiaries of their work, members of the public, representatives of public bodies, or other voluntary groups. Nominations are assessed by a regional committee before being passed to a national committee for final selection and recommendation to The Queen.
Details of winners are announced annually on 2 June (the anniversary of The Queen's Coronation).
Winning groups receive a certificate signed by The Queen and a commemorative piece of crystal for display at the group's main place of operation. The Awards are presented on behalf of The Queen by the local Lord-Lieutenant or Lieutenant-Governor.
Many different types of organisations have won the award since it was launched, including groups working to improve the local environment, running community centres, managing play schemes and supporting families.