EAST KILBRIDE Young Farmers have been honoured with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

The prestigious accolade is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK, with the club being one of 241 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive it this year.

The award was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee and recognises outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities.

East Kilbride Young Farmers – who also lifted the title 'Club of the Year' in 2020 – have been recognised for their ongoing contributions to the local community as well as their commitment to educating and developing young people to realise their full potential.

Over the past few years they have helped with maintenance at East Kilbride Sport’s Club; built paths alongside Friend’s of Langlands Moss; cleaned for Kilbryde Hopsice; litter-picked in Auldhouse; and maintained the grounds of the David Livingstone Memorial Centre.

When they have not been busy volunteering, they’ve also been known to host events and take on sponsored charities to raise funds for good causes including the East Kilbride Dementia Carer’s Group; Multiple Sclerosis Society; Kilbryde Hospice; Maggies; Samaritans; Guide Dogs for the Blind and Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance.

As well as their work in the community, the club provides opportunities for its own members to develop, including hosting an NHS accredited Mental Health First Aid course. Despite a difficult year for SAYFC Clubs across Scotland, East Kilbride, have been working hard to ensure their members stay engaged and some events have included a car treasure hunt, clay pigeon shooting, a pumpkin carving competition and a Christmas cocktail making night.

Former club chairman, Joe Cameron commented: “I’m absolutely delighted to see East Kilbride Young Farmers honoured with this award as I think it recognises the effort the club and its members have put in over a period of decades to make a lasting contribution to the East Kilbride community. We use our voluntary work as a way of helping our own members to develop their own skills as well, so it works both ways.

"As a more urban club than many others, we’ve used our community involvement to promote our other activities and the wider opportunities offered by SAYFC to a wider audience. We hope that gaining the QAVS helps us to push this message further and also gives other clubs within SAYFC encouragement to get involved with their own local communities and reap the mutual rewards as East Kilbride have."

SAYFC national chair Katie Burns added: "On behalf of all at SAYFC, I would like to Congratulate East Kilbride Young Farmers Club - The Queens Award is an amazing achievement, the highest award that can be given to a voluntary service, it is a great accolade for not only East Kilbride but SAYFC as an organisation. East Kilbride Young Framers should be incredibly proud of what they have achieved, their commitment and care has not only had a positive impact on their members in what had been a difficult year but the wider community and many supporters too."

Representatives of the Young Farmers will receive the award crystal and certificate from Lady Susan Haughey CBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Lanarkshire later this summer. Two volunteers will also attend a garden party at Holyroodhouse in July 2022.