Highest Royal honour for Nuneaton and Bedworth Neighbourhood Watch Association

A Neighbourhood Watch association from Nuneaton in Warwickshire has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

Steve Hammond, chair, and Bob Chambers, vice chair of Nuneaton & Bedworth Neighbourhood Watch Association (N&BNWA) attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace on 24 May where they met the Queen and other winners of this year’s award.

Steve (pictured right with Bob) said: “We all feel that receiving this prestigious award is a tremendous achievement which recognises the hard work done by all the volunteers involved in N&BNWA. We all feel immensely proud of the recognition it represents.”

N&BNWA is one of 193 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of awards given to groups this year is slightly higher than last year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to tackle community challenges.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities. The awards were created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

Award winners this year range from a War Memorial Community Trust, providing social facilities for the benefit of the community in Clwyd, Wales, to a club enhancing the community by developing individuals through athletics, in Ayrshire and Arran, Scotland.

Nuneaton & Bedworth Neighbourhood Watch Association will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire later this summer.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Committee Chair, former broadcast journalist Sir Martyn Lewis said: “I warmly congratulate all of the inspirational voluntary groups who have been rewarded for their community work with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The judging panel for this year’s awards were struck by the quality and breadth of all the successful groups. The thousands of volunteers who give up spare time to help others in their community and to help solve problems demonstrate the very best of democracy in action.”

N&BNWA Association Treasurer Brian Lowe commented: “It has been a long, and sometimes challenging, journey for us since the association was formed in 1999 following the collapse of Nuneaton Neighbourhood Watch.

“However, thanks to the efforts of a well-motivated band of volunteers, assisted by supportive partner organisations, those challenges have been met. We have now reached the point where much of the way in which we work is seen as good practice that may be emulated by others further afield. Our efforts have been recognised by other awards in the past but being selected for The Queen’s Award is without doubt our crowning glory.”

Association secretary, Heather Lowe, described receiving the award as “a mark of quality that will raise the profile of N&BNWA and in doing so encourage more people across the borough to get involved in Neighbourhood Watch.”

Mr and Mrs Lowe, who are in their 70s, were both awarded a British Empire Medal in the 2013 Queen’s New Year Honours for their voluntary work with Neighbourhood Watch and Warwickshire Police.