The Queen’s Award for Volunteers

Number 8 was awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2017. The QAVS is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own 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. The award has an equivalent status for voluntary groups as the MBE has for individuals.

Number 8 was inspired by the local community, realised by the local community and is now supported by them as volunteers and as attendees. With registered charity status the organisation is governed by a voluntary Board of Trustees and has a workforce of over 200 volunteers who work alongside just a few paid members of staff. Andy Smart, Chair of Trustees at Number 8 states, “This award is a great honour for everyone associated with Number 8, not just the current 200 or so volunteers who make Number 8 possible but also the many more who have been involved over the years and helped to realise the dream to raise enough funds to set up an arts centre in Pershore.  We continue the vision created by our founders: to offer a high quality, friendly and diverse arts experience to all.”

Led and inspired by the people of Pershore Number 8 brings the very best of the arts, entertainment and culture to rural Worcestershire. The work that Number 8 does for the community was very much admired by the independent Assessment Committee, chaired by Sir Martyn Lewis CBE.

Andy goes on to say, “I think it’s fair to say that Number 8 has had a transformative effect on the life of Pershore, keeping the town vibrant, helping to sustain local businesses during the recession and attracting new shops and residents to make this a really thriving market town.  Number 8 has also made an impact on the lives of our patrons and indeed our volunteers. The vast majority of Number 8 volunteers are over retirement age (some quite a few years beyond that point) but they have refreshed their skills and acquired new ones. It is the volunteers who have made Number 8 what it is – welcoming and successful  – and if there is a message it’s that we should celebrate the senior members of our community and the contribution they make – they have a great deal to offer!”

Number 8 isn’t standing still or resting on its laurels. Trustees at the centre have just committed to a major refurbishment of the foyer to include a new small performance space which will enable the organisation to do even more to support new and emerging talent as well as enhancing the experience of those coming to Number 8.