Congratulations to the Hyndburn Green Spaces Forum, a group of volunteers based in Hyndburn, who have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

The Hyndburn Green Spaces Forum, made up of local community groups, helps to protect and promote the green spaces and parks in Hyndburn, working together to secure external funding for community projects and providing help and assistance to each other on community consultation and community events and also works with the Council to secure Green Flag status for our parks.

Cllr Miles Parkinson, Hyndburn Council Leader, said;

“Congratulations to the Hyndburn Green Spaces Forum, this award is richly deserved as the members, who are all volunteers, give their time and energy so freely to make where they live a better place for all. We’re lucky to have this group of community volunteers here in Hyndburn, we really appreciate the great work that they do and it’s marvellous that they are being recognised nationally now with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.”

Cath Holmes, Chair of Hyndburn Green Spaces Forum, said:

“We were bowled over and humbled to even be nominated for this award, so to have achieved this accolade is such an honour. Every volunteer involved should be so, so proud and we thank all of them for their dedication, determination and the work they do freely to benefit the community and Borough of Hyndburn. Thanks must be given to Hyndburn Borough Council, especially the Parks Department, without whom our achievements would not have been possible. It’s a true team effort. We must also thank Murray Dawson for nominating the group and to Tony Grimshaw who came to assess the Forum. And lastly but importantly, thanks to all our families and friends who support us in many ways.”

Cllr Paul Cox, Cabinet Member for Parks, added;

“The Hyndburn Green Spaces Forum is a real asset for Hyndburn and members have worked with us tirelessly to help bring in excess of £8 million in external funding to improve our parks and open spaces. The work they do is in evidence right across the Borough, from smaller projects like planting crocuses alongside footpaths, to bigger ones like restoring footpaths through woodlands, making them accessible to all, to huge projects like the recent transformation of Rhyddings Park in Oswaldtwistle. They’ve also worked with our Parks Team to achieve Green Flag status for seven parks and Accrington Cemetery in the Borough and are working with us to achieve even more.”

Cllr Parkinson added;

“We’ve also just heard that the 1st Oswaldtwistle Scout Group have also been awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service too! Congratulations to all the young people and leaders involved, they are yet another brilliant example of how volunteering can make a real difference in your community, well done to them all.”

Representatives from Hyndburn Green Spaces Forum and 1st Oswaldtwistle Scouts Group attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

Hyndburn Green Spaces Forum is one of 281 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations and awards has increased year on year since the awards were introduced in 2002, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteers helping people overcome mental health problems through sport, volunteers using caravans as mobile cafe/information centres in geographically remote locations and another group mentoring children who have a parent in prison.

Representatives of Hyndburn Green Spaces Forum and first Oswaldtwistle Scouts will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire later this summer.