We're a recipient of The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

We're thrilled to have been awarded the prestigious Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

This is the highest national award presented to local volunteer groups across the UK and is the equivalent of the MBE.  It's presented to exceptional groups that are volunteer-led and whose levels of initiative and impact make a significant difference to beneficiaries in their communities. Created in 2002 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of HM Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation, the list of winners is published in June each year. 

With a proud tradition of supporting adults and young people to volunteer, we have more than 100 volunteers engaged as trustees, patrons and crew members. They are invaluable in supporting the delivery of activities, such as camping, climbing, caving, archery and bushcraft, as well as helping to maintain our facilities and equipment. Since opening in 2008, the volunteers have supported us in helping more than 250,000 young people to develop new skills and abilities within the natural environment.

Izzy Devonshire, age 17, explained what she had gained from being a Walton Firs volunteer:

"Volunteering at Walton Firs taught me valuable skills. It has helped me stay connected with my friends since finishing school. It's helped me develop team working skills and brought me and my friends closer together."

All award nominees are subject to an appraisal of their volunteering policies and practices by the Surrey Lieutenancy local assessment panel, whose reports are forwarded to the National Award Committee. This national committee subsequently make its own independent recommendations to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which send a final list of award recipients to the monarch for approval.

Our youth support programmes, which see us work with vulnerable and 'at risk' young people to develop their social and vocational skills through mentored work experience placements, were, in part, key to us receiving the award.

Rob Woolford, Chairman of the Walton Firs Foundation, said:

"On behalf of Walton Firs Foundation, I'm delighted our organisation has been chosen to receive The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. We have a long-standing commitment to deliver high quality volunteering opportunities, and we're all thrilled our tradition of supporting young people to develop the skills and knowledge required, to become happy and successful adults, has been recognised.

"As with many charitable organisations, the difficulties that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic gave the Activity Centre some financial difficulties, with enforced closure. The whole situation meant our volunteer service teams and corporate sponsored work teams were not, during that period, able to help with their volunteer days. Every little counts so as restrictions were lifted, with hard work and ongoing commitment we made it through those difficult times."

Chris Scott, Centre Manager, added:

"Receiving The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service is an ongoing tribute to the many hundreds of people who have given their time as volunteers to the activity centre.  I would like to say a big thank you to every one of our past and present crew members and leaders for their input to Walton Firs!"  

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service was presented by the Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey during a commemorative event and the attractive glass award takes pride of place in the office. If you are ever at Walton Firs Activity Centre, please pop in to the office to see this prestigous award, of which the whole team are very proud.

For further information about becoming a Walton Firs sponsor, please contact Chris Scott on  01932 863243. Alternatively, donations can be made by via our Facebook page


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