FORTY volunteering groups from across the South West have been nominated for this year's Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. The prestigious National Honour, equivalent to the MBE in status, recognises outstanding contributions made to local communities

FORTY volunteering groups from across the South West have been nominated for this year's Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.The prestigious National Honour, equivalent to the MBE in status, recognises outstanding contributions made to local communities by those voluntarily devoting their time for the benefit of others and sets the national benchmark for excellence in volunteering. Groups have been nominated by members of the public who have been helped personally or witnessed the benefits of their work in the community.Winners of the 2009 Award will be announced on June 2 and will be invited to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in the summer. Former broadcast journalist Martyn Lewis CBE, who chairs the main award committee, said: "Volunteering groups contribute hugely to their communities, often without praise for the incredible job they do, and a prestigious honour such as the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service can prove invaluable to continued success, support and donations, as well as boosting the profile of volunteering generally."The 40 groups nominated for this year's Award are testament to the continued hard work being done by volunteers all across the South West."Seven groups from the South West won the Award in 2008, selected from 379 nominated across the UK, Channel Isles and Isle of Man. There have now been more than 600 winners of the Award over the six years since it was created by Her Majesty to mark the occasion of her Golden Jubilee in 2002.For information on previous winners, along with details on how to nominate a group, visit www.queensawardvoluntary.gov.uk, where a nomination form can be downloaded.