6 June 2014

Croydon College, a UNICEF UK Rights Respecting School, has been awarded the prestigious Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, the highest honour given to volunteer groups across the UK. The national award recognises outstanding contributions groups of volunteers make to their local communities. It is the MBE for volunteer groups.

Croydon College is the first further education (FE) college in the country to receive the top award. Last year, the College was also the first predominantly FE institution to be granted the Rights Respecting School Level 2 Award (RRSA) - the highest accolade awarded by UNICEF UK - recognising its achievement in putting children's human rights at the heart of its ethos and culture.

The College community is thrilled to be recognised for its contribution to volunteering. Frances Wadsworth, the college's principal and CEO, said: "The Queen's Award for Volunteers is a wonderful recognition of exceptional work and we are very proud to receive it."

Last year alone, over 1,500 Croydon College students volunteered 18,000 hours - lobbying, campaigning, fundraising, awareness-raising and even representing young people at the UN. Through the Rights Respecting School Award, many students also got involved with UNICEF's work. One student who has really benefited from volunteering is A-level student Ryan Raghoo (17), he said: "Through my work with UNICEF I have been involved with national and international campaigns, I have been given the chance to go and teach human rights in Denmark. I would encourage everybody to volunteer, it is a precious opportunity to develop as an individual."

The College's thriving volunteer culture is thanks in large part to Di Layzelle, Head of Student Life, who also drove the College's involvement with UNICEF UK's Rights Respecting Schools Award. Di says her work with the students is very rewarding: "It should never be underestimated how much young people can achieve."

Read Croydon College's press release announcing the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

Croydon College QAVS © Croydon College/2014
Staff and students from Rights Respecting School Croydon College with their Queen's Award for Voluntary Service© Croydon College/2014