The Blue Apple Theatre Group is the 1,000th recipient of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Volunteers at the Hampshire charity help people of all abilities take part in theatre, arts and film production.
Jane Jessop, founding director of the theatre company, praised the contribution of the volunteers and said: “I am so grateful that their amazing commitment and help over the years has been recognised by this wonderful award. They help us change lives, challenge prejudice and promote understanding between people from different communities.”
A total of 112 voluntary groups have received the award this year, after more than 250 were nominated by members of the public.
Her Majesty created the award in 2002 to mark her Golden Jubilee and recognise the contribution of voluntary groups to their local communities. The award has the same status for an organisation as an MBE has for individuals.
Martyn Lewis CBE, the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Award committee chair, said: "In this Diamond Jubilee Year the judges have been hugely impressed by the many imaginative ways that volunteers are coming together to help build and sustain the fabric of our society. They are proof that in these difficult times the community spirit is alive and well right across the UK.”
All recipients receive a certificate signed by the Queen and a commemorative crystal which is presented to them by Her Majesty's lord-lieutenants.
The Award is overseen by the Cabinet Office. Minister for civil society Nick Hurd congratulated the recipients and said: “Volunteers make a huge difference across our society and should be recognised for their selfless dedication – they are an inspiration to others to get involved and make their own positive impact.”