Oban Winter Festival Committee success signalled in 2016 Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

A voluntary group from Oban working in the community to organise an annual ten day Winter Festival each November has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

The Committee work closely with local business, charities and schools to put together a programme of events with something for people of all ages to enjoy, showcasing local crafts and skills to visitors and locals alike, inviting them to join in the celebrations while stimulating cultural activities, and boosting the local economy at a traditionally quiet time of year,

David Finlayson from the Oban Winter Festival Committee will attend a garden party at Holyrood on 5th July where he will meet the Queen and other winners of this year’s award.

Oban Winter Festival Committee 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.

Oban Winter Festival Committee will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of Argyll and Bute later this summer.

Chair of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Committee, former broadcast journalist, Sir Martyn Lewis, says:’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.’

Rob Wilson, Minister for Civil Society, says: ‘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 huge amount of work and commitment these organisations put into their local communities 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 more compassionate society.’

Lord-Lieutenant of Argyll & Bute, Patrick Stewart, expressed his great pleasure at the news of the QAVS award, saying: ‘When I saw the nomination I was convinced that the Oban Winter Festival should be nominated for the Award. This was reinforced by the assessment prepared for me by Andrew Campbell, a Depute Lieutenant of Argyll & Bute.

‘The award is the equivalent of an MBE awarded to an individual and in this case is richly deserved for its support of the Oban community and businesses at what otherwise would be a quite time of year.’

Oban Winter Festival Committee are delighted and honoured to receive this award on behalf of all the volunteers, businesses, charities and groups who contribute to the event in many different ways.

From the outset of this initiative, the group who came together to organise the winter festival for Oban has worked tirelessy and inventively – with an earlier highlight the internationally celebrated ‘Obang’ – which deserved an award all of its own.

It is good to see a committe recognised together in this way for their communal effort.

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