Do you know a local group that does great work involving volunteers? If so, you can nominate them to be recognised by Buckingham Palace and achieve a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given out across the UK that recognises and rewards excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community.

First announced in 2002 as part of the celebrations for The Queen’s Golden Jubilee, the award is given for outstanding achievement by groups of volunteers who regularly devote their time to helping others in the community, improving the quality of life and opportunity for others and providing an outstanding service. Over the years, the award has gone to many different types of groups including those who are working to improve their local environment, running community centres, supporting families, or working with children and young people.

Anyone in the UK can nominate a group. To be eligible, the group must consist of two or more people who have been doing volunteering work for at least three years. The majority of the group must be volunteers, and more than half the volunteers must have the right to live in the UK.

The winners are announced each year on 2 June (the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation). They will receive a certificate signed by The Queen and an exclusive commemorative crystal, presented by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenants in their counties.

The deadline for nominations to the 2017 Awards is 16 September 2016 (midnight). The application form can be found on the GOV.UK website