Apley Woods

Queens Award


The Friends of Apley Woods, based in Apley Castle, Telford, recognised with Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for 2015

A voluntary group from Telford, that works with the community to conserve and protect its local woodland, has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

The Friends of Apley Woods, from Apley Castle in Telford, was formed by local residents in 2007 with the aim of restoring the rich heritage of Apley Castle and developing Apley Woods as a valuable amenity for the whole community. In 2012, the group formed a volunteer conservation team to work weekly in the woods, under the direction of Telford & Wrekin Council, with the revised aim of protecting, conserving and managing the woods for present and future generations. Tasks carried out vary from sweeping paths and litter picking to planting new trees and bulbs, coppicing, and surveying wildlife and habitat. In addition, the group also runs educational events and activities for all ages, to encourage the community to engage with nature.

Rosemary Jones, Sean Thomas and Veronica Minchin, from the Friends of Apley Woods, attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace on 20th May where they met the Queen and other winners of this year’s award.

The Friends of Apley Woods is one of 187 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of awards handed out to groups have increased by over 60% from 2014, due to an increase in high quality applications, 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 Ablaze, a charity helping to raise academic achievement amongst disadvantaged young people in Bristol to a volunteer rescue boat service on Loch Lomond.

The Friends of Apley Woods will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire later this summer.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Committee Chair, former broadcast journalist Martyn Lewis CBE 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 best of democracy in action.”

Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, said:
“I would like to congratulate all groups who received this year’s Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, in recognition of their fantastic achievements. The hard work and commitment that goes into the work of these organisations is surpassed only by the passion and motivation of the individuals who volunteer. I hope these groups continue to inspire others to get involved and make a positive impact so that
we can continue to build a bigger, stronger society.”

Rosemary Jones, Chair of the Friends of Apley Woods, said:

"We are so proud and excited to receive this award. We work hard in Apley Woods and knowing our efforts are appreciated makes it even more worthwhile.
Being involved with the group is great fun but with so much work still to do, we hope this success and special recognition will encourage more people to join us."

For further information and photos on the group and Apley Woods in general:
Facebook (updated daily): https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Friends-of-Apley-Woods/369425249802669
Twitter: @FOAWinfo
Email: FOAWinfo@yahoo.co.uk
The conservation volunteers work every Thursday from 10am.

Notes to editors
1. Lord Lieutenants are the monarch’s representatives in their lieutenancy. There are 98 Lord Lieutenants who cover all areas of the UK.
2. This year there were 187 winners of The Queen’s Award Voluntary Service from across the UK. More information on the winners can be found at the London Gazette https://www.thegazette.co.uk/
3. Any group of two or more people that has participated in voluntary work for more than three years can be nominated for the award. Full details on how to nominate are available at http://qavs.direct.gov.uk/
4. Nominations for the 2016 awards close on 18 September 2015