Bedfordshire Lieutenancy: The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Bedfordshire Winners 2022

  • Buckingham Palace has today announced The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service recipients for 2022 and HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire*, Helen Nellis, is delighted that four voluntary organisations in Bedfordshire have been recognised.

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. Recipients of the award are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. It is the MBE for volunteer groups.

Nationally, 244 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups have received the prestigious award this year and since its inception in 2002, 44 awards have been made in Bedfordshire. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.

Representatives from each of the four winning groups will be presented with the award crystal and certificate by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis later in the summer. In addition, two volunteers from each group will attend a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in 2023, along with other recipients of this year’s award.

The following Bedfordshire organisations were successful this year:

Bedfordshire Open Door is committed to offering an accessible, confidential and free professional counselling service to young people living in Bedfordshire. Their aim is to enable young people to manage their own lives with confidence and safety.

Biggleswade Good Neighbours is a group run by local residents who volunteer time to help other residents of Biggleswade to provide practical support and friendship to isolated, older and disabled people, enabling them to maintain their independence and well-being.

The John Bunyan Community Boat offers a range of scenic river cruises along the River Great Ouse in Bedford, enabling both local people and visitors to Bedford access to the wonderful river environment. The boat is run entirely by volunteers and is open to everyone.

The Safer Luton Partnership is a multi-award-winning organisation with international recognition. The Partnership continues to work on several projects with specific target groups towards the ongoing goal of developing safer neighbourhoods, improving the quality of life and reducing the level of crime for those who live, work or visit Luton.

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis said "We are exceptionally fortunate in Bedfordshire to have so many wonderful people giving their time freely and generously for the benefit of others. It is a great joy that these voluntary groups have been awarded such a prestigious honour during this very special Platinum Jubilee year. I am very much looking forward to visiting the groups later this year to present them with their awards and meeting all the wonderful volunteers. I offer them all my sincere congratulations, thanks and best wishes to all the successful groups”.


About the Award

The award is equivalent to the MBE and is the highest award that can be made to a voluntary group. The award is managed by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

With the majority of volunteers, groups of two or more people for volunteer work can be nominated, and more than half of the volunteers must have rights living in the UK. Their works must be on service, meets a need, supported, recognised and respected for and by the local community. The groups of volunteers must be running their service for three years or more

Each nomination is first appraised in the county where the group works. This appraisal is led by the Lord Lieutenant, Her Majesty's representative in the county, helped by a County Assessment Panel of leading representatives from diverse sectors of the community. The Lord-Lieutenant or their representatives, or both, may meet with the nominated group.

A Specialist Assessment Panel of independent volunteering experts from across the UK judge nominated groups against the Award criteria, taking into account the first appraisal. The panel passes its recommendations to the Main Award Committee.

The Main Award Committee advise the Cabinet Office and the Minister for Civil Society.

The award is decided after the Queen has given her formal approval.


*Lord Lieutenants represent the monarch in each of the UK’s ceremonial counties.

How to nominate?  Details are available at

Nominations for the 2023 awards close on 15 September 2022.