Five groups in Kent have been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE.

The winning groups in Kent are Chatham Town Football Club, Hands of Hope, Friends of Westbrook and Stonebridge Pond, Sheppey Matters and Sheppey Sea Cadets.

The excellent Chatham Town Football Club wins the Award for bringing together the Medway community by harnessing the power of sport to reach out and transform lives.

Hands of Hope are a remarkable charity building communities and improving mental health and wellbeing by connecting with nature and each other.

Friends of Westbrook and Stonebridge Pond are a group of volunteers completely dedicated to maintaining Westbrook Stream, Stonebridge Pond, and surrounding habitats to benefit the community.

Sheppey Matters are an outstanding volunteer group supporting well-being, reducing loneliness and isolation, and creating opportunity in Sheppey.

Sheppey Sea Cadets are an exceptional Cadet Force offering activities and education to cadets, developing life skills, discipline and teamwork.

Across the UK, 244 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups receive the prestigious award this year. Their work, along with others from across the UK, reminds us of all the ways in which fantastic volunteers are contributing to their local communities and working to make life better for those around them. The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities. It 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. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. The Lord-Lieutenant of Kent, The Lady Colgrain will present representatives of the winning groups with their award crystal and certificate later this year. In addition, two volunteers from each group will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2023, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.