Do you know local unsung heroes who deserve

national recognition?

In recent years, the national honours system has put special emphasis on recognising people who, working individually or in volunteer groups, make an outstanding contribution to their local community. Such recognition is a deserved and public ‘thank you’ for what they do as well as acting as an inspiration to others.

There are two main ways in which national recognition is available for individuals and for groups.



Two honours particularly are available for outstanding contributions by individuals to the local community:

  • Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) is awarded for a significant achievement or outstanding service to the community. An MBE is also awarded for local ‘hands-on’ service which stands out as an example to other people; and


  • British Empire Medal (BEM), reintroduced in 2012, rewards a sustained, local contribution or innovative, high-impact work of a relatively short duration (eg 3 to 4 years). The Lord-Lieutenant of Devon, as the Queen’s representative, will present BEMs to recipients in a local ceremony. Recipients will also be invited to attend an annual royal garden party at Buckingham Palace in London.

A candidate for an honour can be nominated at any time by someone who knows their work but a national committee decides which honour should be recommended to Her Majesty so you do not have to specify which one in your nomination.


  • The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service recognises and rewards excellent work carried out by volunteer groups in their communities. It is of equivalent status to the MBE. The awards are made annually in June to volunteer groups who regularly devote their time to helping others, improving the quality of life and opportunity for others and providing an outstanding service.

Groups must be nominated, for example, by beneficiaries of their work, members of the public, representatives of public bodies, or other voluntary groups. Nominations are then assessed by a regional committee before being passed to a national committee for final selection and recommendation to Her Majesty.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Devon, as the Queen’s representative, will present each winning group with a certificate, signed by the Queen, and a commemorative crystal at a local ceremony. Award recipients are entitled to use the Queen’s Award emblem on their website, stationery and other printed material. Four representatives of each successful group will also be invited to an annual royal garden party at Buckingham Palace in London.

So, if you know of a deserving group of two or more people working for the local community that:


  • provides a service that meets a need for local people;
  • is supported, recognised and respected by the local community and the people who benefit;
  • is run locally; and
  • has been running for three years


then please nominate them.





For general enquiries about:


  • individual honours, please telephone the Honours and Appointments Secretariat in the Cabinet Office on 020 7276 2777




For guidance on how to make a nomination, please log on to:






Making a nomination is very straightforward.