Music to the ears

Stainsby Festival’s charity, an entirely volunteer run, not-for-profit organisation, wins priceless award: The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Stainsby Folk Group’s volunteers have just been awarded The Queen’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.

Tony Trafford, Chair of Trustees for the charity, says: “I’ve no doubt our volunteers will be utterly delighted. It’s absolutely fantastic that the hard work and commitment of all our dedicated volunteers has been recognised in this way; from stewards to back stage staff, from toilet cleaners to the-year-round trustees who have all sustained this event over the last 50 years. Every single volunteer is essential to making this a truly community event.”

He added that, “The reward of volunteering here is simple. The pleasure of being involved in a collective effort to stage an event of great community value. This award acknowledges that effort in a very significant way.”

Stainsby Folk Group is a registered charity and the driving force behind Stainsby Festival, a music and arts event on a greenfield site that’s been running in the hamlet of Stainsby near Chesterfield for 52 years and has a national reputation in its field. It started in 1969, the year before Glastonbury, and has run every single year except the last two Covid blighted years. Community minded with more than 350 regular volunteers, it brings together disparate communities like ex-mining, farming, urban, rural as well as different generations (many original volunteer’s grandchildren now volunteer).

Stainsby has helped many careers in the music business: Barbara Dixon, Steeleye Span, the Fairports, Carthy & Swarbrick all passed through its tent flaps early in their careers. It’s also run music workshops with local schools and had performances by them at the festival. Some volunteers have gone on to careers in business after learning skills at the festival - electricians, plumbers, and printers to name a few, and some have even gone on to study event management. The Festival runs a discounted tickets scheme locally for the local community and is proud of the support of the village and the local farming community who, happily, all attend in force. Stainsby prides itself that it promotes the arts, especially music, to a wide audience in a safe family orientated event.

Stainsby Folk Group is one of 244 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 in which fantastic volunteers are contributing to their local communities and working to make life better for those around them.

The Queen’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 The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteer groups from across the UK, including: a rural support group for farmers in Shropshire; a community magazine addressing isolation in the Western Isles; a running club engaging all ages in County Tyrone; a film academy and community hub based in South Wales, and a food bank in Greater London feeding vulnerable individuals and providing training opportunities.

Representatives of Stainsby Folk Group will receive the award crystal and certificate from Mrs. Elizabeth Fothergill, CBE, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Derbyshire later this summer (possibly at this year’s festival). In addition, two volunteers will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2023 (depending on restrictions at the time), along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

Tony also went on to say, “This will be a great year for the charity to receive this Award since we have also now raised enough money through a public campaign – The Dream of Fields Appeal - to buy the fields where the festival is held, which will secure its future for many more years to come.”

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