Queens Park Arts Centre in Aylesbury have just been awarded The King’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE.

Volunteers at Queens Park Arts Centre (QPAC), one of the UK’s largest independent arts centres, are thrilled to receive recognition from King Charles, some of whom have been giving their time, skills and commitment to QPAC for over 30 years. 

L-R: Peter Cooper – Chair of QPAC’s Board of Trustees, Julie Newman – Coffee Bar Volunteer, Nidhi Mehta Director of Board, Tony Tomblin – Treasurer & Director of Board, Jo Tyrrell – Coffee Bar volunteer, Angela North – artist & photographer for Unbound Theatre, Hannah Rogers – Unbound Theatre actor, John North – artist for Unbound Theatre, Joan Law – publicity assistant, minute taker for Board meetings and AGM, Marcel Philips – helps with venue maintenance and setting up for workshops, Gill Brown – Pottery Tutor, Susie Upstone – Jewellery Workshop tutor

‘We now have around 200 volunteers helping out in all areas of the Centre’s day-to-day operation, as well as facilitating the longer-term strategic operation. The breadth of their skills and experience, combined with their generosity of spirit is impressive, and very much appreciated. I’m so pleased that their contribution has been recognised by the KAVS.’

Sarah Lewis, Chief Executive of Queens Park Arts Centre

Queens Park Arts Centre has been continuously running for 43 years. Its mission statement is ‘arts for all’ – every year QPAC’s enables tens of thousands of people to engage in creative and cultural activities. From participatory weekly workshops, short courses and one-day classes, to live theatre, music and comedy; as well as special events, outreach projects, free-to-view exhibitions, there’s always something to inspire at QPAC. Run by Chief Executive Sarah Lewis, QPAC has fantastic facilities, as well as numerous studio, theatre and gallery spaces, it has an award-winning story telling theatre company, Unbound, as well as a residence dance and stage school, SDSD.

QPACs volunteers help out in every area of the arts centre – from the Board of Directors, to tutoring workshops, front of house and backstage, painting the incredible sets for the annual pantomime, to working on the coffee bar, helping to promote the centre’s activities at Town Centre events through to setting up the studio spaces, acting, directing and taking photographs – there truly is something for everyone. Volunteers span the ages too – the youngest is just 14, the oldest – somewhat older!

‘QPAC is a warm and welcoming safe creative space’

Julie Newman & Jo Tyrrell, Volunteers

The benefits of volunteering are well known and numerous, such as making friends, developing support networks and sharing a passion for arts, crafts and theatre. QPAC also provides valuable work experience for volunteers, helping people to pursue worthwhile and valued pursuits, or to perhaps help to find paid work, or enhance CVs for future applications. QPAC’s volunteers cite benefits such as being able to give back, feeling part of a community, feeling valued and sharing skills and experience. QPAC always welcomes new volunteers to its community so if it’s something you may like to be a part of – do get in touch!

‘QPAC is such a friendly place, everyone talks to everyone’

Gill Brown, Volunteer

Queens Park Arts Centre is one of 262 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. Their work, along with others from across the UK, reminds us of all the ways fantastic volunteers are contributing to their local communities and working to make life better for those around them.

The King’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee and, following his accession, His Majesty The King emphasised his desire to continue the Award. Recipients are announced annually on 14th November, The King’s Birthday.

Representatives of Queens Park Arts Centre will receive the award crystal and certificate from

Elizabeth Curzon, Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire later this summer. In addition, two volunteers from

Queens Park Arts Centre will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May and June 2024, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

‘Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Queens Park Arts Centre and I would like to add my congratulations on winning this award to all those dedicated people that make the organisation what it is. Well done everyone!’ 

Peter Cooper, Chair of QPAC’s Board of Directors


  1. Congratulations! I love the Centre and if I lived in Aylesbury I would be there a lot more, for classes, exhibitions and performances. It’s a great place.

  2. Well done, it is a great place, I’ve been coming here since the 1980’s. It’s lovely that all the hard work that goes into running the centre has been recognised, really chuffed for you 😊

  3. Congratulations Queens Park. The centre has gone from strength to strength over the years. It’s a warm friendly place to visit with so much on offer to attend. The cafe area is super too. Well done all those volunteers.

  4. Well done QPC you really deserve this award and it is a really super accolade ! Well done to everyone that makes the Queens Park Centre the brilliant place it is. I love coming to the classes, long may it continue.

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