The results of this year’s QAVS (Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service) have just been officially announced by Buckingham Palace and the winners published in the London Gazette. Three organisations in County Antrim have been granted this prestigious accolade:
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. The Award scheme was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. The prestigious recognition is the equivalent of an MBE for voluntary groups. It is the highest form of civic award that can be granted to an organisation in recognition of the outstanding work of volunteers. Each applicant is subjected to a rigorous assessment process at both Northern Ireland and United Kingdom levels.
The Lord-Lieutenant for County Antrim, Mr David McCorkell, has expressed his congratulations to the successful organisations. "I am delighted that three organisations from County Antrim have been granted the QAVS in 2020. The award is a wonderful achievement and it recognises the commitment and dedication of volunteers who make such an important contribution to their local communities. The importance of volunteering to civic life has never been more important than at the present time and I am delighted that so many volunteer groups across the County have been actively engaged in supporting their local communities during the present pandemic. I look forward to meeting the volunteers from each of the three successful organisations at their individual award ceremonies which will hopefully be organised in a few months’ time".
The three awardee groups this year represent a wide cross section of the innovative service being offered by volunteers:
Coaching 4 Christ – Based in Ahoghill, C4C aims to transform the lives of young people through sport. It has been operational for over 15 years during which time over 100,000 young people have benefitted from the services provided by the organisation’s 60 volunteers.
As a highly valued and respected part of the local community, its excellent reputation has spread across the globe and C4C is now recognised as an excellent example of good practice worldwide. As a result, volunteers have visited other countries such as Spain and Uganda to impart the organisation’s principles of commitment, unity and life transformation through sport. International visitors have also visited the Ahoghill centre in order to gain an insight into the organisation’s unique work with young people. The C4C Youth Academy currently has 250 young people enrolled. Volunteers help with sports coaching and character/lifestyle in the C4C centre itself as well as in schools, community centres, churches and other venues across Northern Ireland.
Mae Murray Foundation – Based in Larne, the Foundation provides support for the creation of an inclusive society with true participation for ALL in leisure and social settings, regardless of age or personal ability. The organisation has a vision that everyone should be able to participate within society regardless of complexity of support needed to do so.
Approximately 600 people who are affected by social isolation and exclusion, as a result of disability, age, medical condition or caring responsibilities have benefited directly from the Foundation’s work. The volunteers are committed to improving outcomes of people of all ages and they work tirelessly to develop solution-based ideas to support inclusion for all. Formal partnership arrangements have been developed with several local authorities across Northern Ireland. The Foundation is highly respected at both regional and national level. It featured on the 2019 BBC Children in Need programme when there was a major feature on their ‘Inclusive Beaches’ initiative.
Ballymoney Branch of the Royal British Legion – This group is committed to supporting ex-service personnel and local communities in the Ballymoney area to prevent social isolation through shared activities and cross-community integration. The organisation has been recognised for the work which its 30 volunteers are doing in providing advice and
services to challenge issues such as loneliness within the local community. They promote the physical and mental well being of individuals many of whom live in areas of social deprivation. Comradeship is encouraged as well as actively encouraging opportunities for social integration. Each year the Branch reaches out to and supports over 900 people in the Ballymoney area and assists, in partnership with Council, in the delivery of a number of community related programmes. The Branch premises are used by a wide range of organisations in the Ballymoney area. Local members have also been involved with the Gurkha welfare Trust to build houses in Nepal.
Clearly the ‘volunteering’ spirit is still alive and well in County Antrim. The three organisations to be recognised in the 2020 QAVS awards demonstrate the importance for everyone to offer their time, knowledge and skills in supporting others. Presentation ceremonies will be held in due course as circumstances allow. This will provide a further opportunity to celebrate all that is good about volunteering in our society.
If you would like to find out more about the QAVS, please have our look at our webpage, here, and visit the QAVS website: https://qavs.culture.gov.uk/
At 11am this morning the North Irish Horse Regimental Association organised a wreath laying party, in Carrickfergus, to commemorate the 76th Anniversary of the battles of the Hitler Line, which took place in Italy in 1944. The North Irish Horse provided vital support to the Canadian Infantry. As a result of the breaking of the Hitler Line and in "appreciation of the support they received" the regiment was asked by the Canadians to wear the Maple Leaf insignia of the Canadian Military, which they wear to this day.
Due to Government restrictions, strict social distancing measures were were in place, there was no parade or social gathering afterwards. It was also decided that the wreath laying party would not wear uniform.
Wreath laying party:
1). Mr David McCorkell; HM's Lord-Lieutenant for County Antrim
2) Alderman Maureen Morrow; Madam Mayor, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
3) Colonel Nick Tougher for the People and Government of Canada
4) Colonel John Rollins, MBE; Honorary Colonel The North Irish Horse
5) Major David Weir; Officer Commanding B (North Irish Horse) Squadron, Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry (SNIY), for all serving officers and soldiers of SNIY Sabre Sqn and R Signals Sqn.
The Act of Remembrance:
On completion of the wreath laying the Standard bearer dipped the Standard. The Orator, Major Derek Irvine R Sigs (V), read the "Ode to the fallen" and recited the names of the 34 North Irish Horse killed in action.
The Government has announced that the Birthday Honours, released in June each year to mark Her Majesty The Queen's official birthday, will be delayed until the Autumn. This is to allow those who have contributed to the response to the coronavirus crisis to be included.
Anyone can nominate someone who lives in the UK for a national honour. This contribution during COVID19 could include:
For further information, and to download the COVID19 honours nomination form, please click on the link below:
Please note that the COVID19 honours nominations must be submitted by email before the 24th July 2020.
For more information, click here to view our National Honours page, which contains some other useful links and advise.
The Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mr David McCorkell, has been appointed Squadron President of 817 (Lisburn) Squadron of the Royal Air Force Air Cadets.
The Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim commented "I am honoured to be appointed as the Squadron President. I look forward to visiting as soon as the restrictions are lifted and supporting them in the important role that they play going forward. I have been impressed with the high standards of the Squadron and the wide-ranging opportunities that are available to the cadets".
"I would like to congratulate all of those who took part in the events, throughout County Antrim, to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of VE Day over the Bank Holiday weekend. Despite the circumstances, it was wonderful to see such a sense of community, even during these times of social distancing.
In particular, I would like to single out Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough, Lisburn & Castlereagh City and Mid & East Antrim Borough Councils for their excellent Virtual VE Day 75 content.
Until we meet again, stay safe & well."
David McCorkell, Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim
Her Majesty The Queen this evening addressed the nation at 9pm to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Allied Victory in Europe (VE Day). To watch the full address, please click here.
"Never give up, never despair - that was the message of VE Day"
Her Majesty The Queen
God Save The Queen.
Today marks the 75th Anniversary of the Allied Victory in Europe on 8th May 1945 (VE Day). Due to the unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in because of COVID19, many of the planned events had to be cancelled. However, the Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mr David McCorkell, has been involved in a number of virtual events throughout County Antrim to mark the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. Please see our Twitter Account for full information, by clicking here.
To see the Lord-Lieutenant's message delivered as part of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council's virtual commemoration, held on Facebook, please see below and skip to 9 minutes 33 seconds:
WeVideo Link available here
Her Majesty The Queen addressed the Nation this evening at 9pm. To watch her full address, please click here.
God Save The Queen.
The Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mr David McCorkell, has paid tribute to all the NHS staff, carers, volunteers and key workers for all of their efforts during this COVID19 crisis, as he took part in the Clap For Carers at 8pm this evening.
He expressed his deepest thanks and sincere gratitude to all of those people who are helping to keep us safe.
Stay safe & well
The Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mr David McCorkell, attended the gun salute at Hillsborough Castle to mark the 68th Anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen's accession to the throne. This was one of the many special gun salutes that took place throughout the United Kingdom.
The 206 (Ulster) Battery of the Royal Artillery, also known as the Ulster Gunners, fired the gun salute.
The Lord-Lieutenants of Northern Ireland now take it in turns to attend the gun salutes. For more information, please click here.
Honours and awards