The Royal Voluntary Service and Queen Camilla have teamed up to encourage the public to nominate volunteers for Coronation Champions Awards. The aim, in the words of the queen consort, is to “shine a light on the herculean efforts of our nation’s volunteers”. This initiative sits alongside the Big Help Out, another coronation-related celebration of volunteering and a nod to the new king’s lifetime of public service. Volunteering and community go hand in hand. Volunteering is a glue that helps bind communities together. We need to work hard to nurture a sense of community and not just blithely assume that it will always be there. Life-Based Learning emphasises the importance of community pride and activism, and – in a similar way to volunteering – promotes agency and empowerment.
The Coronation Champions Awards “celebrate the work of extraordinary volunteers across the UK”. When all the nominations for the volunteering awards have been received – the deadline for nominations is Sunday 2 April – a total of 500 Coronation Champions will be chosen. They will receive a specially designed Coronation Champions badge and a certificate signed by the queen consort. They will also be invited to attend one of the official coronation celebrations.
Nominations are open to people aged 14 and over and cover eight areas:
Anyone submitting a nomination is encouraged to think about:
I know from experience that volunteers don’t do what they do for praise or glory, but I also know that they absolutely deserve it. The coronation is the perfect time for us to come together and really show volunteers just how much we appreciate everything they do for our health and happiness. Be sure to nominate your local heroes, as these awards are a wonderfully exciting opportunity for deserving volunteers to be commended and be part of history in the making.Catherine Johnstone CBE, chief executive of the Royal Voluntary Service, quoted on the RVS website
As we wrote in our blog about the Big Help Out, volunteering – and helping others more generally – brings many benefits: it is rewarding in itself, improves wellbeing, teaches us new skills, makes us more outward-looking and helps bring people and communities together. The volunteering spirit aligns closely with the values of Life-Based Learning, particularly in relation to strengthening communities and bringing people closer together.
A lockdown opinion poll found that 73% of people wanted society to be more connected in the future; they looked forward to “a new, country-wide moment that celebrates communities and what we have in common”. Some of that spirit of community was shown during the platinum jubilee celebrations for the late Queen Elizabeth II, in which an astonishing 17 million people took an active role.
Valuing, protecting and strengthening our communities is one of the urgent life challenges we face. The long-term future of our communities depends to a large extent on today’s young people and on the generations that follow. That’s why community education matters. Any long-term strategy for building stronger communities must involve looking at what we are teaching children in school.
Life-Based Learning (LBL) would raise the profile of community by treating it as one of nine life-based themes delivered through subject content, and ensure that our children and young people have the knowledge, skills and values to contribute positively to community life.
The image at the head of this article is from the Twitter feed of the Royal Voluntary Service.