THE King visited Ealing Broadway shopping centre yesterday (7) to meet six volunteer-run community groups which have received The King’s Award for Voluntary Service.

He learned of the difference they have made in the area, before enjoying a tour of the centre’s Christmas Market and speaking with business owners.  

Award recipients were:

  • Descendants: A history and arts-based organisation aimed at developing children and young people mainly of African or Caribbean descent (2019)
  • LAGER Can: A litter action group for Ealing residents (2021)
  • PACE: A voluntary organisation promoting the inclusion of young disabled people in sports and leisure activities (2021)
  • Mael Gael: A Southall-based project for the elderly and for young people (2021)
  • William Hobbayne Charity: Supports people in Hanwell who are in need, hardship, or distress (2022)
  • Ealing Wildlife Group: A volunteer-run group focusing on protecting local wildlife (2023)

The Award for Voluntary Service was created in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee and shines a light on the work of voluntary groups across the UK. Equivalent to an MBE, it is the highest award given to voluntary groups.

Thirty children from Christ The Saviour C of E Primary School and a Polish choir sang Christmas carols on the Town Square Stage.

Before departing, The King made a visit to Santa’s Grotto, meeting the man himself and watching a signed dance performed by IMPACT Theatre Group.

The group, which supports adults with learning disabilities, previously won The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2018.

Andrew Rollings, centre director, said: “We’re incredibly proud to welcome His Majesty to the centre, to celebrate the brilliant community and volunteers we have in Ealing.

“It really is a town where people come together to support others, which we’ve experienced first-hand this year with the incredibly generous volume of uniform and winter coat donations we’ve received.

“We truly hope he left feeling inspired by Ealing’s community spirit, with a touch of festive cheer.”

Ealing Broadway, which is owned by British Land, was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in March 1985. It’s home to more than 70 outlets.