THE Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Sir David Brewer, has called on people from the local community to nominate voluntary groups in the area for the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, a prestigious national honour equivalent to the MBE for groups.
The award recognises the outstanding contributions made to local communities by groups voluntarily devoting their time for the benefit of others, and sets the national benchmark for excellence in volunteering.
Sir David said: "Voluntary groups across Greater London are vital to all aspects of community life, especially as times are becoming more trying.
"The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service has proved an important way of bringing recognition to those often hidden groups who have dedicated themselves, in some cases over many years, to improving local people's lives. If you know a group in your area, do get out there and nominate."
More than 600 groups around the UK have now won the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service over the six years since it was created by Her Majesty to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee in 2002, including 55 that won from Greater London.
Winners were nominated by members of the public who have been helped personally or witnessed the benefits of a group's work in their community.
They range from the Ebony Steel Band Trust, which encourages the cultural history and appreciation of steelpan music and arts among young people, to Inside Outside, which supports people with learning difficulties to volunteer to help older people in their homes.
For details of all this year's Queen's Award for Voluntary Service winners and information on how to nominate a group that really makes a difference, visit www.queensawardvoluntary.gov.uk, where a nomination form can be downloaded.
Deputy Lieutenant, London Borough of Hillingdon, by email.