Three Cornish organisations were amongst the 281 voluntary groups that have been awarded the 2019 Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service this year.

The award is considered “the MBE for volunteer groups” and recognises exceptional service within communities and is the highest honour for volunteer groups in the UK.

The China Clay History Society

Amongst the organisations were The China Clay History Society, who support the Wheal Martyn Clay Works museum. Their role is to preserve and make accessible the heritage of Cornwall’s china clay industry, including furthering the study and research of the industry, which was a driver of the Cornish economy for over 100 years. The society is made up of a team of over 30 volunteers who contribute around 800 days each year, carrying out tasks such as documenting and preserving an extensive archive, producing newsletters and hosting talks, field trips and film shows.

Colin Vallance, Director of Wheal Martyn and Chairman of the China Clay History Society, said: “I am absolutely delighted that the volunteers of the China Clay History Society have been recognised with such a prestigious award.  Their commitment to preserving such an important aspect of Cornwall’s industrial history is outstanding.  Their hard work has achieved so much in terms of keeping the heritage of the industry alive, while establishing a remarkable archive resource which will support Wheal Martyn’s work and ensure people understand, long into the future, how the landscape, economy and lives of people in this part of Cornwall has been shaped.”

Cornwall Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs

Another Cornish organisation to be awarded were the Cornwall Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs. The largest rural youth organisation in Cornwall, it has over 800 members spread across the whole county. The federation provides many opportunities for Cornwall’s young people which would not be possible without the support of thousands of volunteers throughout the year. Cornwall Young Farmers’ Clubs provides anyone aged 10 to 26 with a fantastic chance to meet lifelong friends, learn new skills and make a real difference to the local community.

Kelly Evans, County Organiser of Cornwall YFC said: “We are absolutely delighted that the hard work and commitment of our volunteers and members has been recognised and that we have been awarded such a prestigious award.”

Drama Express

Drama Express, a Cornish charity who work to enable young people with complex disabilities to access the performing arts through workshops and acclaimed performances, were also awarded the award for their exceptional volunteer service.

The group has a membership of young people from all areas of Cornwall with performances in local theatres and festivals. The young people in Drama Express are also given the opportunity to participate in set design, script writing, costume making and promoting the performances.  Drama Express are Members of Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum, and we regularly post news about their upcoming events, and requests for support.


Next year’s awards?

Sir Martyn Lewis, chair at the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Independent Committee said –

“We know there are thousands more local organisations doing great work, and I would strongly encourage those people who have seen them in action or benefitted from their activities to consider nominating them for next year’s awards.”

Nominations are now open for the 2020 awards and the deadline is 13 September 2019. Any group doing volunteer work that provides a social, economic or environmental service to the local community can be nominated for the award. Each group is assessed on the benefit it brings to the local community and its standing within that community. To find out more and to read the guidance notes, visit the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service website.