You are here: Home / Helping You / Apply for a King's Award for Voluntary Service

The King's Award for Voluntary Service

The King’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's coronation and is equivalent to an MBE for volunteer groups. Each group is assessed on the benefit they bring to the local community.

Across North Yorkshire we have many such wonderful organisations doing great things in the community, and the Lord Lieutenant is very keen to encourage applications for KAVS and ensure that as many North Yorkshire organisations as possible are deservedly recognised for their endeavours.

Who is eligible?

Any group of 2 or more people doing volunteering work can be nominated for the award. The majority of the group must be volunteers, and more than half the volunteers must have the right to live in the UK.

To be nominated they should be run locally and do work that provides a service and meets a need for people living in the local community. The organisation must be supported, recognised and respected by the local community and the people who benefit from it.

Volunteer groups should have been running for 3 years or more to be nominated.

How are nominations made?

Nominations for the King’s Award for Voluntary Service can be made online at the Government Website. Before you start the nomination process please read the instructions here, and if you need help and advice in completing the nomination form please contact the QAV’s team at

Anyone aware of the group, including people who benefit from the group’s activities, may make a nomination. Do not nominate your own group if you are a volunteer or paid staff member as nominations must be independent and supported. Nominations from staff members and/or volunteers will be deemed ineligible.

Nominations also require supporting letters from two independent people and must show:

  • the impact of the group on the local community
  • what the volunteers in the group do and why they are special.
  • the relationship of the supporter to the group including the reason for the endorsement

They are looking for letters that bring the work and impact of the group to life and as such they can be written by beneficiaries. Support letters written by anyone directly involved in or with the group, such as a volunteer or Trustee, will not be considered. The letters of support are a very important part of the nomination process and are often critical in the decision-making process.

When can nominations be made?

Nominations are accepted from 1st June until mid September (this changes annually and dates can be found on the KAVS website). They may be considered at any time within three years of the nomination. That said, each year if they are submitted by the specified date in September then the group is usually considered the year after they are nominated.

How are the winners decided?

The Lieutenancy visit local groups to make an assessment. Their recommendations for nominations to advance to the next stage are then considered and assessed by the Independent Committee, some members of which are from the voluntary sector.

The committee provides a final shortlist to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which is sent to Her Majesty the King for his approval. The winners are then announced on 14th November every year – His Majesty The King's birthday. The Award recipients are notified in confidence beforehand and each nomination is judged solely on merit and there is no set number of Awards for a particular sector or region. 

What does the group receive?

Winners receive a certificate signed by the King and a glass crystal which can be displayed at the group’s main meeting place. The crystal awards are presented at a special ceremony, by the Lord-Lieutenant representing His Majesty The King. Successful organisations can also display the KAVS logo on their website and printed material. Each successful group will also be allocated two places at a royal garden party at Buckingham Palace in London.