Queen’s Awards for Voluntary Service winners #MadeInSandwell

Congratulations to three Sandwell community organisations for winning a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the MBE of the voluntary sector.

The Sikh Helpline, The English Medical Group and Special Olympics Sandwell were all awarded this highly coveted accolade in June. The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their communities.

The award was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. 

Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service winner: The Sikh Helpline

Based in Sandwell, The Sikh Helpline is a free professional and confidential telephone counselling and email enquiry service, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Founded over 25 years ago, it has become a trusted point of contact for members of the community in dealing with a range of issues, especially those linked to cultural and social taboos.

The services of The Sikh Helpline are available to any individual, regardless of age, gender, race, culture, religion, disabilities, sexual orientation or nationality. 

Its aim is to assist anyone in need of emotional support, guidance and advice regarding various issues, including bullying, racism, substance abuse, domestic violence and abuse, depression and mental health issues, and discrimination within the work place, amongst others.

Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service winner: The English Medical Group

The English Medical Group is a group of medics based in Sandwell that helps immigrant doctors learn English and qualify to practise medicine in the UK. Everyone involved in the organisation is a volunteer.

Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service winner: Special Olympics Sandwell

Special Olympics Sandwell is a non-profit organisation run by a group of volunteers that provides sport and leisure opportunities across the borough for local people with intellectual/ learning disabilities.

Special Olympics Great Britain is a sporting organisation for children and adults with intellectual/learning disabilities that operates in England, Scotland and Wales. It is part of the global Special Olympics movement.

Special Olympics Sandwell team (athletics, badminton, boccia, cricket, golf and swimming) members in training to 'Go for Gold'.
Special Olympics Sandwell team (athletics, badminton, boccia, cricket, golf and swimming) members in training to ‘Go for Gold’.

Through sport, Special Olympics provides opportunities for athletes in Sandwell to make friends, learn social skills, feel part of a community, increase confidence and self-esteem, realise their potential, develop physical fitness and mental well-being, demonstrate courage and experience joy and pride. Above all, it enables both athletes and their families to have fun.

‘Wonderful volunteers’

Norma Hyde, Chair of Special Olympics Sandwell, said: “I am absolutely delighted that our group’s work has been recognised with this great honour. We started in 1983 and I would like to thank all our volunteers, both past and present, for their hard work throughout almost 40 years. 

“Our wonderful volunteers are very dedicated throughout the year, supporting our amazing athletes in their numerous sports. Volunteers are committed to help them with their weekly training sessions to enable them to enter annual competitions. Our committee of volunteers works hard behind the scenes to enable it all to happen and all our volunteers are extremely committed to enabling our members to fulfil their true sporting potential.”

About the Queen’s Awards for Voluntary Service

Community organisations awarded a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service get a certificate signed by the Queen and a domed glass crystal, as well as the kudos of the award.

The awards are decided by local assessors who research and visit nominated groups before a local assessment panel decides which organisations are put forward to the National Assessment Committee.

The committee then considers the nominations and agrees a shortlist for approval by the Queen. The awards were announced in June in The Gazette.

The Sandwell groups that received the award are three of 244 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year.

Representatives from each Sandwell voluntary group will receive their award crystal and certificate from John Crabtree OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands later this summer. In addition, two volunteers from each organisation will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2023, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

Winning a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is a fabulous achievement for all three community groups #MadeInSandwell and we’re proud to hear about the voluntary work being done across the borough.

The work of all the groups is a reminder to us of all of the ways in which fantastic volunteers are contributing to their local communities and working to make life better for those around them.

You can nominate a group for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service online. Nominees are considered for an award the year after they’re nominated.

#MadeInSandwell Monday is a celebration of the talent and diversity within our borough. If you’re interested in being considered for a #MadeInSandwell Monday profile and having information about your organisation shared on Think Sandwell and through Twitter, read this.