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Community Radio Station Apple FM, based in Taunton recognised with Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for 2015 - 02 June 2015

Community Radio Station Apple FM, based in Taunton recognised with Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for 2015 - 02 June 2015

A voluntary group from Taunton who works in the community to provide a Community Radio Service for Taunton Deane has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

Apple FM broadcasts on 97.3FM throughout Taunton Deane and beyond, producing quality community focused radio programming 24 hours a day. It has 49 volunteers and broadcasts over 100 hours of live or “as live” programming a week from the studios in the heart of Taunton. It also streams its programming through the internet via its website www.applefm.co.uk and through its dedicated Smartphone Apps.6111405204444

A representative from Apple FM attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace where they met the Queen and other winners of this year’s award.

Apple FM is one of 187 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of awards handed out to groups have increased by over 60% from 2014, due to an increase in high quality applications, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to tackle community challenges.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their 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. Award winners this year range from Ablaze, a charity helping to raise academic achievement amongst disadvantaged young people in Bristol to a volunteer rescue boat service on Loch Lomond.

Apple FM will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of Somerset later this summer.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Committee Chair, former broadcast journalist Martyn Lewis CBE said: “I warmly congratulate all of the inspirational voluntary groups who have been rewarded for their community work with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The judging panel for this year’s awards were struck by the quality and breadth of all the successful groups. The thousands of volunteers who give up spare time to help others in their community and to help solve problems demonstrate the best of democracy in action.”

Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, said: “I would like to congratulate all groups who received this year’s Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, in recognition of their fantastic achievements.The hard work and commitment that goes into the work of these organisations is surpassed only by the passion and motivation of the individuals who volunteer. I hope these groups continue to inspire others to get involved and make a positive impact so that we can continue to build a bigger, stronger society.”

Overjoyed, Apple FM’s Managing Director, Philip Knighton commented: “I have always been proud to be a part of Apple FM and for the organisation to be chosen for a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is a high honour indeed. It is a recognition not only of the many thousands of hours that our volunteers have freely given to maintain a radio service for the caring community of Taunton, but also of the ethos of the station and its aims and commitments for the future. The award is not only for the current team of volunteers, but for all those who have given of their best over the last forty two years and turned the initial project of a radio station for Musgrove into a much wider vision of community radio with its opportunities for involvement and empowerment across Taunton Deane. They built the strong foundations from which we now build anew and I am always aware of the debt owed to all who have gone before.”

“There are many challenges in the future, but the accolade of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service will remind us that others have trust and confidence in what we do. May it be an inspiration to us all at Apple FM and may we continue to be a positive force in a difficult world.”

Musgrove Park Hospital’s Chief Executive, Dr Sam Barrell, said: “I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to all of the volunteers at Apple FM. The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is a very prestigious accolade, one of great honour, and only amplifies how much of an asset they are to the hospital and our local community.”