BLACK Country Radio has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for its services to the community - particularly throughout the Covid pandemic.

The station, which operates from studios at The Waterfront, Brierley Hill, is one of 12 organisations across the West Midlands to receive the QAVS - which is the equivalent of an MBE and the highest accolade that can be given to local voluntary groups in the UK.

Station director Dave Brownhill said: "I’m continually in awe of what we achieve as a team. To be recognised in this way, when so many of our people give up their time to give a voice to individuals, companies and charities is nothing short of inspirational.

"We've developed great relationships with local organisations including town centre teams, charities and Dudley Council which has seen us acts as the main sponsor for Armed Forces Day events and play a part in the borough's first-ever streamed fireworks display.

“We have such a community spirit. It’s a lot of hard work and the past year has been a challenge to us, both as a station and as people, as it has been to so many across the Black Country. I’m very proud of this achievement.”

BCR has also been awarded an additional special designation for providing impactful support to their communities during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

The station, which is run by dedicated volunteers, continued to provide a reliable service throughout the pandemic and as the nation went into lockdown last March, 2020, volunteers set up a Covid helpline so listeners struggling with self-isolating, loneliness, access to food and medicine or other issues, could dial in and reach out for help.

Zyllah Moranne-Brown, the station's director of marketing and communications, said: "We’re all immensely proud and humbled to have received this incredible award. It is thanks to all of our volunteers and the fantastic support from the community, that Black Country Radio is what it is.

"Last year was a challenge for everyone - and to see so many volunteers step up and support local communities has been truly inspirational.”

Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, congratulated the team on their success and said: “I’m delighted that Black Country Radio its receiving The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) this year, with a special designation for providing impactful support during the early months of the pandemic.

"The impressive role for volunteers last year has reminded the whole nation of the key role they play in all all parts of our society. We are so grateful for their fantastic contribution in helping local communities manage the extraordinary demands presented by Covid-19.”

The station is now in the process of launching Black Country Xtra - an arts and community station.

Created in 2002 for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, QAVS awards have been shining a light on the work of voluntary groups for many years and they recognise groups which have provided exceptional service within their communities and rely on volunteers to deliver their outstanding contribution.

The Friends and Residents of Buffery Park in Dudley have also been awarded a QAVS in this year's list, announced today (Wednesday June 2), for their dedicated efforts to create a vibrant community park which is popular with families and which provided a vital urban outdoor escape space during the lockdowns.