Press Release: Kirkgate Arts Awarded The King’s Award for Voluntary Service


Immediate: November 14, 2023

The Kirkgate Arts and Heritage Group in Cockermouth has been awarded The King’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK.

The prestigious award, equivalent to the MBE, has been made in recognition of the exceptional work volunteers do from their base at the town’s Kirkgate Centre for the benefit of their local community.

To be nominated, a group must:

  • be made up of at least 3 people;
  • be led by volunteers, not paid staff;
  • have been running for at least 3 years;
  • be based in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man.

Kirkgate General Manager Emma Heys said: “This is a great achievement. We are thrilled that our volunteers’ achievements have been recognised.”

Rob Higgins, Chair of the Kirkgate’s Board of Trustees, added: “We are absolutely delighted, on behalf of our volunteers, to have received this award.

“We were selected from the Cumbrian nominees to go forward to the national stage so to be included as one of the award winners across the country is a phenomenal achievement.

“The award is ‘for outstanding achievement by groups of volunteers’ and we’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to all of our volunteers who play such a crucial role in the life of the Kirkgate.”

Awarded groups get a certificate signed by the King and a domed glass crystal. Up to two representatives from the group may also be invited to attend a royal garden party. Local assessors research and visit nominated groups before writing a report on their suitability. Local assessment panels then decide which ones to put forward to the National Assessment Committee.

The committee considers the nominations and agrees a shortlist for approval by the King. The nationwide list of recipients has been announced today to mark the King’s 75th birthday.

A social event has been organised at the Kirkgate Centre for 4pm on Tuesday, November 14, at which volunteers will be able to celebrate their success!


ENDS …..




Members of the media are invited to attend the event. If you would like to do so, please contact Kirkgate General Manager Emma Heys on 01900 829966 or


Kirkgate is a charity based in Cockermouth, Cumbria.  It operates an arts and heritage centre as well as working with towns and villages in West Cumbria to encourage a diverse programme of arts, culture and entertainment.  Its vision is to ensure that creative talent is valued, developed and supported with opportunities for all to engage actively with, and enjoy, the arts, local heritage and community life.


The Kirkgate Centre brings the best cultural, theatrical and entertainment events to Cumbria. From the best feature and documentary films to live streaming of top London shows, to local talent, heritage exhibitions, music, theatre, comedy and more, there is something for everyone.


In the historic Kirkgate Quarter of the Gem Town of Cockermouth, sitting on the edge of the Lake District National Park, the Kirkgate Centre is the perfect venue for special occasions, conferences, meetings, courses, exhibitions or private film screenings.


Kirkgate manages Arts Out West which stages performances in community venues from Furness to the Solway, ranging from nationally-recognised theatre companies to international musicians with events that are as much a social occasion as a performance.  It is a member of the National Rural Touring Forum supported by Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation.

Follow @kirkgatearts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram


For more information:

Emma Heys 01900 829966

The Kirkgate Centre, Kirkgate, Cockermouth, CA13 9PJ