Luton Irish Forum’s volunteers have won a prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) 2020.

The QAVS is a unique national honour in the UK, created by Her Majesty The Queen to recognise the outstanding contributions that groups of volunteers make to local communities. It has the equivalent status for voluntary groups as an MBE has for individuals. QAVS are not easily won. Only four such groups in Bedfordshire and 230 nationally have been honoured with these awards this year.

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis said: “I was delighted to hear that Luton Irish Forum were awarded the prestigious Queens Award for Voluntary Service. The group has grown and flourished so much since it was formed over 20 years ago and still has some its original volunteers on its books. The Forum not only provides much valued support to the Irish community in Luton, but also works hard to promote community cohesion and community engagement across all ethnic/faith groups. My sincere congratulations to everyone at Luton Irish Forum; I look forward to the time when I can visit in person and present the award on behalf of HM The Queen”

“This is a fantastic achievement for our 60 volunteers and they thoroughly deserve it. This demonstrates their amazing commitment and the exceptional difference they make to the lives of other local people,” said Noelette Hanley, Chief Officer of Luton Irish Forum. 

Luton Irish Forum (LIF) volunteers are involved in all aspects of the charity’s work, including sitting on the Board of Trustees, running all the regular social groups (e.g. Baby and Toddlers, Art, Irish language, Tea & Chat, Choir, Pipe Band, Calligraphy) befriending service, planning events, fundraising and public speaking.

We are very grateful to Lord McKenzie for our nomination and the members of the QAVS panel that took time to meet our volunteers and speak with them about what they do and the difference it makes to people,” said Tom Scanlon, Chair of Luton Irish Forum.

Presentation of the award by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen and the associated celebrations are on hold due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. See www.lutonirishforum.org for the latest news.

Images of our volunteers in action: https://we.tl/t-IqRu4ioJIb


Lord Lieutenants represent the monarch in each of the UK’s ceremonial counties.

More information on the recipients of the QAVS Award can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/queens-award-for-voluntary-service

Earlier this year, LIF, a Registered Charity since 1997, was accredited the Trusted Charity Mark, Level 2 and was successfully reassessed for the Advice Quality Standard including Welfare Benefits Casework.

Luton Irish Forum is the second Irish voluntary organisation to receive the QAVS – Irish Network Stevenage were awarded in 2019.


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Join us online for the craic with our special St Patrick’s Day Quiz, with or without an Irish snack box or cabbage and bacon dinner delivered to your door (Luton addresses only). Don’t forget to dress up and turn your screen green!


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More information and booking via Eventbrite.