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The King's Award for Voluntary Service

This is the highest award given annually to volunteer groups in the local community and is the equivalent of the MBE for the volunteer sector.


The King’s Award for Voluntary Service (KAVS, previously QAVS) is an annual award made to recognise and reward excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community.

It is given to 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.

Groups will normally be nominated by:

  • beneficiaries of their work
  • members of the public
  • representatives of public bodies
  • other voluntary groups

Nominations are assessed by a regional committee before being passed to a national committee for final selection and recommendation to The King. Details of winners are announced annually.

Winning groups receive a certificate signed by The King and a commemorative piece of crystal is awarded to the group. The awards are presented on behalf of The King by the Lieutenant Governor.

The King’s Award for Voluntary Service Office in London is responsible for administering the award.

KAVS timetable

The King's Award for Voluntary Service for 2024 opened on 1st June 2023. Further information, including eligibility requirements can be found on the KAVS website:

KAVS criteria

The group must:

  • Be made up of three or more people
  • Be based in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man
  • Have been in operation for at least three years before nomination
  • Have over half its volunteers eligible to reside in the UK
  • Be led by volunteers, not by paid staff; over half its members should be volunteers
  • Provide a specific and direct benefit to the local community

The group must not:

  • Have been nominated for a QAVS award in the past 3 years
  • Have already received a QAVS award
  • Operate as a national organisation, as KAVS is aimed at local volunteer groups;
  • Have fundraising or grant-making as its primary focus
  • Be based within or in support of a public service, unless they have a separate identity from the public service organisation
  • Operate solely for the benefit of animals, unless it can demonstrate that its work provides significant other benefits to the local community (for example, therapy pets).

What are we looking for?

A successful group will normally have the following characteristics:

  • Volunteer led: The volunteers are in the driving seat, setting the direction for the group’s work and spotting opportunities to develop it still further each year.
  • Making a considerable difference locally: The initiative of this group and the efforts of its volunteers have changed the situation dramatically for its beneficiaries.
  • Exceptional compared to comparable groups: This group is likely to be one of the best of its kind in the UK.
  • Well-run: There are high standards of governance, financial management, safeguarding
  • Outstanding reputation locally: The group has a high standing in the community and has an excellent reputation with beneficiaries, service providers and local council officials (if appropriate).