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Despite a disastrous last season for Northamptonshire County League side Thorplands United, the Club is looking forward to regrouping and building on its solid Community football foundations after receiving the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service for 2008.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has graciously confirmed the award to the Football Club in the following group, in recognition of their impressive voluntary work in the community "Voluntary Group" for East Midlands. Thorplands United FC beat off competition for providing football for all and other youth activities in the interests of social welfare and community cohesion.
Groups have to be independently nominated for the Queen's Award by two reputable referees, who are not involved in the running of the group. An initial local assessment of groups is made by the Lord-Lieutenant, or Deputy Lieutenant of the County. Lord Lieutenant's assessments are viewed by the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service Panel, which judges the application on set criteria, before sending a maxim of 25 local applications forward for shortlisting.
Award winners have to satisfy the under noted criteria:
" Meet a particular need
* Provide community-focused voluntary activities of a very high quality having generated a high level of goodwill and respect among those they service and the community as a whole
* Have evolved locally and are locally run
* Have a proven track record of active involvement in the community, normally over a period of over three years or more
The Local Selection Panel receives the nominations, this panel is made up of qualified people from local services, health, education, social services, youth work, local business and is chaired by a Director in the Regional Government Office. This assessment produces shortlisted nominations, which are then sent to the Queen's Jubilee Award Committee. This is chaired by the Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the Home Office and the Terms of Reference require that the Committee compares the relative merits of the nominated groups across the UK, bearing in mind "...that there is reasonable balance across the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man as a whole, in terms of the quality and consistency of nominations, the types of groups rewarded and the locality." The final selection is chosen for recommendation to The Queen. Thorplands United Football Club was awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service 2008, following the rigorous selection procedure.
Club Chairman Gary Palmer expressed his delight at being nominated and on receiving this prestigious award, wishing to place on record his appreciation and thanks to all volunteers, players and committee members. "This has been a very successful year for the club," he said. "We won the 2008 Northampton Town Football Cup and 2008 Northampton and District Youth Alliance under 12's League. Running the club is really a team effort and everyone who has helped the club, and worked hard for us, shares the great honour we have received in being awarded The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.
"Thorplands United F.C. will be representing Northamptonshire as winners of the County Futsal Championship at the regional finals in Northampton, this weekend. We held our own Trophy Presentation Evening at Lings Forum on Friday 23rd May, which was a great success. To then win the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service 2008, is really a wonderful tribute to all our efforts."
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