Young Bristol receives The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Young Bristol have today been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

Young Bristol is an outstanding provider of community-based youth services that positively and sustainably impact the lives of young people aged 8 – 24 years.

Founded in 1928, Young Bristol has evolved into one of Bristol’s leading youth charities, providing 9 Community Youth Clubs and a Youth Club on Wheels, Outdoor Activities, as well as Sports, Creative, Employment and Educational programmes in communities across the city.

Queens Award for Voluntary Service logo

Volunteers are at the centre of our work; working with young people during their critical non-school hours to offer a choice of opportunities, experiences, education, training and accredited learning.

Lee Williams, CEO of Young Bristol commented, “On behalf of everyone connected with Young Bristol, including the many volunteers who support our work in so many ways, we are deeply honoured to receive this prestigious Award.

“Our army of volunteers make a profound and lasting impact on the lives of the children and young people we work with, supporting, inspiring and empowering them to succeed.”

Volunteer young bristol
Young Bristol volunteers

There are so many ways individual volunteers support the work of Young Bristol. These range from being part of our Fundraising Committee and Trustee Board, volunteering at one of our Community Youth Clubs or Programmes, through to individuals and Corporate Partners raising much needed funds for the charity.

However, at the core of Young Bristol’s volunteers are young people who have previously benefited from the charity’s work.

One of those young people is Rob who joined Young Bristol in 2013, struggling with his academic education due to dyslexia and ADHD; relatively hidden disabilities which are often not recognised or understood by everyone.

After regularly attending Young Bristol’s Kayak Club, Rob was at a stage where he could help our instructors to deliver sessions. Rob began helping on general activity sessions, volunteering after school and during school holidays. Before too long Rob was giving up his time, volunteering hundreds of hours every year to benefit other young people in Bristol.

Rob volunteer Young Bristol

Rob stands out as a volunteer because he understands that young people are all different, supporting them to find what they are good at and works with this to build their self-confidence.

“Young Bristol offers an opportunity for young people to succeed in talents not recognised and taught at school. This can be a lifeline to some kids,” says Robs mum.

She went onto say, “Rob shines because he responded to the volunteering opportunities afforded to him by Young Bristol and is keen to make sure that they are offered to others.”

Young Bristol is one of 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups nationally to receive the prestigious Award this year.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise the outstanding work of voluntary groups who benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

CEO Lee Williams commented, “Unfortunately due to Corona Virus we will not be able to host a Volunteer Celebration Event today. However, subject to Government guidance we plan to celebrate with our many volunteers in the Autumn where we will formally receive the Award from the Lord-Lieutenant of Bristol, Mrs Peaches Golding OBE.”

Messages of support

“I could not be more delighted to hear that Young Bristol have been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. We all need to hear good news, in these difficult times, in particular a recognition such as this award of the fantastic work of volunteers.

I was honoured to serve as High Sheriff of Bristol in 2019, a role which brought me into contact with so many inspiring organisations working in our City, to harness the energy and enthusiasm of volunteers to help those in need. For nearly 20 years the High Sheriff has worked with young people, and there is no organisation which delivers the objectives of BYCA ( Bristol Youth and Community Action) more effectively than Young Bristol. Young Bristol, in turn, could not achieve all it does without its team of volunteers. Together they ensure that its service and activities reach across the City, to the areas of greatest need.

My congratulations on an award, so welcome and so well deserved. We all look forward to a celebration when it again becomes possible to gather together.”

Charles Wyld, former High Sheriff of Bristol

“Huge congratulations to Young Bristol on being awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service the highest recognition for the organisation and its volunteers dedication and incredible work in supporting our young people right across Bristol. 

I have had the privilege to have seen first-hand some of the work the organisation does and how it enriches young people’s lives and on behalf of our business and employer community I know how highly regarded and important it is.

This award truly highlights the fantastic team of volunteers you have who are supported by the tireless work of the staff and indeed all who involved with Young Bristol giving outstanding support year on year for our young people and communities, and I think helping build a better Bristol for all.

Being announced at a time of huge challenge for us all this is wonderful news which we need to celebrate.”

James Durie, Chief Executive of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative at Business West

Councillor Anna Keen

“I’d like to offer huge congratuations to Young Bristol for receiving this hugely significant award. The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service goes to groups who show consistent, outstanding service. Young Bristol have shown immense dedication to Bristol’s young people for many years – since being founded in 1928.

Volunteers who work with children and young people do not always have the privilege of seeing the lives they have touched in the future. Young Bristol is driven by making a difference to people’s lives and although sometimes they see this impact through the young people who return as volunteers themselves, often the difference their interactions have made will not be known. This award recognises the unwavering commitment of all those involved in Young Bristol and the confidence we all have that it will continue to reach out and make a difference across our city for many generations to come.

The Covid-19 pandemic has created huge challenges for youth work and highlighted ever more the need for young people to have reliable adults around them. During this time, Young Bristol has reached out through online support as well as delivery support packages to some of our most vulnerable families in the city. 

I am sure that I speak for all those families in offering up our congratulations to Young Bristol and in a time of great uncertainty, our gratitude that an organisation that has survived so long, continues to work so hard and so effectively in our city.”

Councillor Anna Keen, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Education and Skills

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