Four Richmond community groups have been honored with the highest volunteer award in the UK, which will be presented at Buckingham palace.

The Queen's Award for Voluntary service is the top prize a voluntary group can be given in the UK, recognising outstanding work that benefits local communities.

Ham and Petersham SOS, a neighbourhood care group for elderly and disabled residents, and FORCE, a community organisation working to improve local spaces along the lower Crane and Lower DNR corridors in the Twickenham area, will collect their awards later this summer.

Joining them will be Companion Cycling, which helps people with special needs enjoy the fun of two wheels and Friends of Barnes Common, which oversees conservation of the area, working closely with the council on issues such as environmental policy and homelessness.

Representatives of each group will receive the award from Sir Ken Olisa, Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, later this summer.

Gillian Norton, Representative Deputy Lieutenant (DL) for Richmond upon Thames, said: “I am delighted that the work of these four groups has been recognised in this way; in nominating these groups I was impressed by their commitment to either helping some of the most vulnerable people in our community or improving the local environment, a view shared by my colleague assessors.

“I very much hope that we will see more excellent Richmond groups achieving success in the Award in the future.”

The announcement is part of Volunteers Week, which runs from June 1-7.

The local organisations are four of 281 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year – with only 21 organisations receiving the award from London.

The number of nominations and awards has increased year on year since the awards were introduced in 2002, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

Winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.