Back in 2020, we were delighted to learn that we have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
The volunteers who operate Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours, part of Blackpool Transport Services, enable the protection, conservation and operation of a unique fleet of vintage tramcars on the tramway for which they were built (one of only two tramways in the world to operate double-deck trams), thereby widening public access to a rich part of the nation’s heritage. In doing so they are developing a wide variety of skills, creating a major contribution to the welfare of their local community and fulfilling the purposes of wellbeing, learning and education.
We are one of 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award last year. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. Award winners are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteer groups from across the UK, including a community shop in Cornwall, an environmental group in Swansea, a group working with refugees and vulnerable people in Stirling and a thriving community arts centre in County Down.
Head of Heritage, Bryan Lindop says: “Having worked with this remarkable and talented group of volunteers now for over 5 years, it fills me with great pride to see them achieve this pinnacle of national recognition. It takes a lot of dedication, commitment, sheer grit and determination to maintain the high standard of excellence that they have become renowned for. The volunteers, the community that they serve and indeed the nation’s heritage adoring public who come to Blackpool to benefit from the sheer feel-good factor that the heritage tram tours create are inspiring new generations to cherish and appreciate their heritage; to participate in something culturally unique and life-affirming, and by doing so, ensuring that future generations will be able to continue to enjoy this inspiring public amenity.”