Annual Alliance Volunteer Awards

From the very beginning, volunteers played a leading role in our work, campaigning for and delivering high quality, accessible early years services for families and local communities across England. In fact, the Alliance was first established in 1961 after a mother Belle Tutaev and other carers who wanted their children to learn and play together and meet other parents set up their own playgroups.  

The Alliance has benefited greatly from the high level of personal commitment from volunteers. Every individual plays a vital role in everything we do.

Every year, we formally recognise and celebrate the hard work and commitment made by volunteers to our work. This year's National Alliance Volunteer Awards celebrations will take place on Friday, 16 June 2017 at our annual member conference. Find out more about the event here

To nominate a volunteer, complete this form and return to the Information Services team by email:

Or by post: National Centre, Pre-school Learning Alliance, 50 Featherstone Street, London EC1Y 8RT by Monday, 5th December 2017.

See below for full criteria and further details.

The process

There are three awards categories - Outstanding Volunteer in a Setting, Outstanding Volunteer team and the special category, Lifetime Achievement.

The awards are judged in two stages.

The first stage brings together nominations across two of the three categories for shortlisting (the Lifetime Achievement category is a national award only) in March 2017. Around this time, divisional winners are automatically put forward for consideration in the second (and final) national awards stage.

First stage winners and Lifetime Achievement award nominees may be asked to discuss their roles informally with the national awards judging panel to share their experience of volunteering. This should take place towards the end of April 2017. National award winners will be invited to a special celebration at the Alliance’s annual conference which takes place in central London on Friday, 16 June 2017.

Who can I nominate?

Anyone who volunteers for an early years setting or project is eligible. They can undertake any kind of role and make varying levels of contribution from support with outings and events to delivering more formal roles such as secretary or chair in an early years setting (domestic or nondomestic).

However, nominees should volunteer at least once a week and have done so for a minimum of three years.

For the special Lifetime Achievement award, which recognises individuals who devote significant time, knowledge and skills over a long period of time, please note that this is a national award only and nominees should have volunteered for a minimum of 12 years to be eligible. You can re-submit nominations from a previous year.

Award categories and criteria:

Please choose from the following three awards categories;

Outstanding Volunteer of the Year award

For anyone who has worked regularly (at least once a week), for a period of at least three years, in an unpaid capacity, in any of the following:

Any early years setting, either domestic or non-domestic

Any of the Alliance forums or committees at a national, divisional or local level

Outstanding Volunteer Team award

For either a domestic or non-domestic group, an early years setting, children’s centre or other childcare services such as toy library, crèche or baby and toddler group.

Lifetime Achievement award:

A minimum of 12 years volunteering with significant contribution to the setting e.g. setting up or running significant project or being an outstanding fundraiser.

The judging process

The judging panel will consider the nominations and shortlist against the criteria shown below at each stage. Volunteers from the outstanding Volunteer of the Year and Volunteer team categories will be shortlisted and invited to meet with judges informally at their nearest divisional office for the first stage. Volunteers for the Lifetime Achievement award will be shortlisted at national level.

Divisional winners for both categories and shortlisted Lifetime Achievement nominees will be invited to discuss their roles informally with judges in late April 2017. Divisional winners and shortlisted national nominees will be invited to attend the Awards ceremony at our annual member event in June 2017.

All nomination forms should be completed and returned to the Information Service team in Communications at National Centre by Monday, 5th December 2016.

Travel and expenses will be paid to all winners and announced shortly afterwards at special events. You can also re-nominate nominations from previous years.

How to nominate

Its easy ! To give your volunteer the best chance to be short-listed, please consider and address as much of the criteria as possible ;

  • Their high level of personal commitment
  • Their positive contribution or difference made to the local community
  • How they overcame particular difficulties or obstacles in their role
  • How they benefit children, parents, the setting or a project
  • How, personally or professionally, they benefited from the experience
  • Why you feel they are unique or exceptional

Please include examples, quotes and feedback to support your nomination where possible.

Nominations must be received by Monday, 5th December 2016 to be considered.