To mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, hundreds of amazing volunteers across the UK are being recognised for their awe-inspiring achievements.
A call out inviting the UK to nominate hero volunteers in their communities saw thousands of individuals aged from 16 to 101, who have supported a range of causes, put forward.
From these nominations, 490 volunteers have been hand-picked by a judging panel presided over by The Duchess of Cornwall, and crowned Platinum Champions.
Reflecting the 70 years of Her Majesty’s reign, 70 volunteers were selected across seven different categories, making a grand total of 490 Platinum Champions.
"The Platinum Champions Awards, launched by Royal Voluntary Service in honour of Her Majesty The Queen’s 70 years of service, have given us the opportunity to celebrate the remarkable contribution of all volunteers, who truly are the backbone of our country.
"Congratulations to all our Platinum Champions – and my heartfelt thanks to you and to the millions of volunteers across the UK who give their time and talents so generously."
Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall
The Platinum Champions Awards were launched by Royal Voluntary Service and its President, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, in honour of the charity’s Patron Her Majesty The Queen and the example she has set in her 70 years of service.
Together in partnership with The Big Jubilee Lunch, who are also supported by the patronage of HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, the awards are an official Jubilee project to celebrate extraordinary volunteers across the UK who are making a difference every day.
"The Platinum Champions Awards have been the perfect opportunity to celebrate the millions of exceptionally generous people who do extraordinary things, every day. Our judging panel rose to the challenge, selecting 490 Platinum Champions from thousands of inspirational stories and dizzying achievements, spanning all corners of the UK.
"We are extremely proud of and grateful to all the Platinum Champions, each one has shown selflessness beyond measure, sheer brilliance and boundless energy. We are thrilled to see so many phenomenal volunteers commended."
Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service
Platinum Champions include Brad Gartland who set up a local male mental health charity after losing his dad to suicide, and Hagir Ahmed who as an NHS Volunteer Responder supported countless vulnerable people during the pandemic with essential services. Nominations came from individuals as well as organisations, including Royal Voluntary Service, RNLI and St John Ambulance.
"I sadly lost my dad to suicide in 2016, and in his honour was inspired to make a difference and banish the taboo surrounding male mental health. I decided to volunteer at Andy's Man Club – a safe space where men can come to talk about any issues they may face – in the hope that I can do my bit to uplift anyone who may be facing similar difficulties. In 2020, I founded my own branch in Rochdale.
"I dedicate my Platinum Champion award to everyone who has been struggling, feels isolated, and feels like they can’t go on."
Platinum Champions volunteer from Andy's Man Club, Brad Gartland
"I believe it’s my duty to serve the community especially the vulnerable for various reasons and the benefits have a far reaching and positive impact on society as a whole. I feel very privileged and honoured that my hard work and efforts helping and assisting others have been acknowledged and that I’ve been named a Platinum Champion. Hopefully it may inspire others to do the same.”"
Platinum Champions volunteer, NHS Volunteer Responder Hagir Ahmed
Nominees were judged on their impact on the lives of others, their dedication to volunteering and on how much they inspire those around them. The entries were reviewed by an expert judging panel including volunteering specialists and academics before going on to a second stage of judging to determine the 70 most outstanding volunteers. In this stage, VIP judges included NHS CEO, Amanda Pritchard; Eden Project and Big Jubilee Lunch Executive, Director Peter Stewart MVO and famous faces including Ade Adepitan MBE, Alex Jones, Elaine Paige OBE, Felicity Kendal CBE, Gethin Jones, Gyles Brandreth, Myleene Klass and Tom Read Wilson.
The awards, supported by Royal Voluntary Service long-standing partner M&G, were spilt into seven awards categories: older people and dementia support, children and young people, crisis and welfare, community, mental health and companionship, physical health and disability, and supporting the NHS and social care.
All 490 Platinum Champions will receive a specially designed pin and a signed certificate from HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. The 70 most outstanding volunteers have also been invited to celebrate at an official jubilee event, a special edition of The Big Jubilee Lunch, at an exclusive London location on the 5 June. Of those outstanding Platinum Champions, a number will be showcased on BBC’s The One Show (7pm, BBC One) and Morning Live (9:15am, BBC One) throughout the Jubilee week.
Judges were overwhelmed by the raft of nominations illustrating countless triumphs of volunteers from all corners of the country.
"It has been an honour to help judge the Platinum Champions Awards, and our selection of Platinum Champions shines a spotlight on the phenomenal work volunteers are doing up and down the country. Volunteers are such an invaluable asset to all of our communities, I’m humbled by their stories and every single nominee should be deeply proud of themselves."
Elaine Paige OBE and judge of the ‘Older people and dementia’ category
The Big Jubilee Lunch UK wide outreach team has supported the awards and judging process along the way.
“Contributing to this incredible Jubilee project was an honour. The team has been humbled by the incredible stories of selfless efforts people go to for the benefit of others. The millions of people who volunteer their time in communities right across the UK are truly amazing and we hope the hundreds of thousands of Big Jubilee Lunch events and many millions of people taking part on Sunday 5 of June will be coming together in part to celebrate them.”
Peter Stewart, Eden Project Executive Director who was part of the final Platinum Champions judging panel
Find out more about the Platinum Champions Awards.
For further information
Find out more about local volunteering opportunities with Royal Voluntary Service
Make a donation to support the charity’s work during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.