Hawbush Community Gardens volunteers receive prestigious national award

June 24, 2022
Published by Eileen

Every day, millions of people across the UK are making a difference by volunteering.

Each year, outstanding examples of this work are celebrated through the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS). Created in 2002 for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, QAVS awards have been shining a light on the fantastic work of voluntary groups for many years.

Equivalent to an MBE, QAVS are the highest awards given to local voluntary groups in the UK, and they are awarded for life.

Volunteers at Hawbush Community Gardens, located in the Hawbush Estate in Brierley Hill, have been recognised for their work in the community with the Queens 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 small group of volunteers restored what was an overgrown and neglected green space back to its full glory. What has become a wonderful oasis is now host to a multitude of local groups including social prescribing support services, other community support groups, Youth Offending Services, SEMH special needs students, social art groups, a “mindful moms” group and with others in development/planning, including a Therapeutic Horticulture Project.  Each year, much freshly grown fruit and vegetables are donated to the local foodbank and struggling families.  Regularly organised Hawbush Family Afternoons are very popular with local residents, who have variously commented “a brilliant atmosphere for all the families…” and “my children really love coming to the family events”  

Founding volunteer and Chair of Trustees Ken Smith comments: “I think I speak for all of the volunteers in saying that it has been a privilege and a pleasure to be involved in this beautiful site and the people we support. However, the work has been challenging and difficult, at times, so it was a wonderful surprise to be considered for the Queens Award and a real encouragement for us now to receive the award. It is our heartfelt desire, our dream that Hawbush Community Gardens continues to be a wonderful asset for the community, many years from now; well after we ourselves have moved on, or passed away.”    

Hawbush Community Gardens is one of 244 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. Their work, along with others from across the UK, reminds us all of the way 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 from across the UK.    

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

If you’d like to learn more about the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch eileen@dudleycvs.org.uk

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