The Lord Lieutenant of County down

      A group must be made up of two or more people and must provide a specific benefit in a local area. The group may be a branch of or affiliated to a larger regional or national organisation, as long as the volunteers started and developed the initiative for the activity locally, and the group's achievements go beyond what is expected of similar groups in the wider organisation's network.
Those who benefit from the group's activities can be overseas residents or UK residents (or both) but the group must be based in a UK region or country.
Groups may bring a direct or indirect benefit. Indirect benefit includes, for example, work to preserve the heritage or environment.
Groups must have been operating at a high standard for at least three years.
More than half the people who work in the group must be volunteers.
More than half the group's volunteers must have the right of residence in the UK.
The group satisfies requirements to safeguard children and vulnerable adults, if appropriate. These requirements may include Criminal Records Bureau checks.
The group has public liability insurance or any other relevant insurance required for its work.
Groups involved in fundraising activities are eligible for the Award if their fundraising activity:
 Involves volunteers.
Focuses on creating or holding an event or local activity, rather than simply asking for donations.
Is to provide something that can be shown to benefit the local community.
    There was only 1 winner in County Down in 2020 & that was the Portico in Portaferry. The Portico was a Presbyterian Church built in the Greek Revival style nearly 200 years ago. The building had fallen into disrepair & the Portico Charity was founded to raise the funds & to restore this amazing building to its former glory. The Portico now runs a large number of events ranging from Church Services & weddings to classical & pop concerts & various arts exhibitions & conferences.
    There were 2 winners in 2019 & these were only announced at the beginning of June 2019. The award ceremonies happened in the autumn of 2019. The winners in County Down were the Castle Juniors Football Club from Bangor & The Right Key from Loughbrickland. The Castle Juniors Football club aims to develop the Person, the Player, the Club & the Community through the medium of football. The Right Key offers long term help to persons recovering from difficult personal circumstances. 

QAVS, The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

An online information session to promote the Award and explain the nomination process, is being organised by Volunteer Now for potential nominators and interested groups. It will be an opportunity to hear from those involved in promoting the Award and from others who have been through the process.
Date: Wednesday 5th August
Time: 11am – 12.30pm
Please pass this onto anyone who might be interested in hearing more about how volunteers can get recognition. If you have a newsletter or email that goes out to your networks or other organisations please include this in it to help spread the word.
Closing date for nominations is 25 September 2020. Details can be found at

Please register your interest with and we will send you out joining information

details of how to apply for the award

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