The CVQO Westminster Award

The CVQO Westminster Award - an update

Like so many cadet force and youth group events, the CVQO Westminster Award has experienced disruption due to COVID-19.

In early March we made the difficult decision to postpone our annual selection week in Somerset, which would usually take place in mid-April. We had hoped to move the event to late October and hold the House of Lords Awards Ceremony in December. However, following government advice it has become clear that it will not be possible to manage this in a safe and responsible way.

Learner safety and wellbeing is CVQO’s top priority and remains our primary concern when running any type of event. That said, we are pleased to announce our alternative plans for the Westminster Award.

No further Westminster Award events will take place in 2020. We will, however, be opening nominations for the 2021 Award in November as usual.

All 2020 selection event finalists will have the opportunity to attend selection in April 2021, along with nominees for the 2021 Award. This event will be expanded to accommodate both years accordingly, and age restrictions for the 2020 finalists will be waived where necessary. We will then hold the House of Lords Award Ceremony as usual in June 2021.

Unfortunately, it is looking increasingly unlikely that we will be allowed to travel to South Africa in 2021 and it is doubtful, even if we are, that clearance will be given in time for everything to be organised. CVQO is therefore looking at alternative options for the finalists to experience the uniqueness of the Westminster Award.

The alternative July 2021 trip will encompass the spirit, adventure and community-focused nature of South Africa while providing a totally different experience.

So, to recap:

  • There will be no further Westminster Award events in 2020
  • Nominations for the 2021 event will open as usual later in 2020
  • Finalists who were due to attend selection in 2020 will be eligible to join the 2021 event
  • There will be no South Africa trip in July 2021, but an alternative experience is being planned

Eligibility criteria (applies to 2021 nominations)

  • Be registered for or have completed a CVQO BTEC Level 2 qualification
  • Age criteria TBC nearer the time of nominations opening
  • There can be one nomination per unit (e.g. squadron/detachment/equivalent cadet unit or youth group)
  • This means Counties/Areas/Wings (or equivalent regional designation) can nominate multiple candidates

Timings for the 2020 and 2021 Award:

  • 2021 Nominations open – November 2020 (date TBC)
  • 2021 Nominations close – January 2021
  • Stage 2 challenge set – February 2021
  • Selection in Somerset – TBC but likely to be Tuesday 6 – Friday 9 April 2021
  • Finalists announced – late April 2021
  • House of Lords lunch – June 2021
  • Finalists expedition – Departs early July 2021 

What is the CVQO Westminster Award?

The CVQO Westminster Award is an annual competition designed to recognise and reward the most deserving of our learners.

Each year we invite cadet and youth group leaders to come forward and nominate a brilliant young person for something they’ve achieved. Additionally, for the first time, nominations can now be endorsed by fellow cadets!

We deliberately leave the criteria for the nomination open; it could be that they’ve overcome a personal challenge, helped a family member or friend in need, undertaken some amazing community/charity work or are simply an all-round terrific character.


Westminster Award 2020 nomination form and postcard

Stage 1 - Nominations

The first step is the nominations stage. In November each year we open nominations, whereby adult volunteers and youth leaders are invited to put forward a deserving young person via a short nomination form.

Stage 2 - Candidate submissions

After the stage 1 sift, in which CVQO staff and former finalists grade each submission, the successful nominees are set an assignment. We encourage creative submissions using various media types to tell us why they should win a place at selection in Somerset.

Stage 3 - Selection in Somerset

Nominees who are successful in getting this far win a brilliant residential week in Somerset. They enjoy an action packed programme of outdoor, team-building activities, as well as having the opportunity to gain an ILM Level 3. After selection we decide who our finalists will be…

Awards lunch at the House of Lords

The second best part! After selection, our ten lucky finalists can look forward to lunch at the House of Lords with their families, nominating officers and friends, where the overall winner is announced.

South Africa

Finally, there’s an incredible two-week expedition to South Africa. Our finalists will take part in community projects, work with local schools, learn about South Africa’s culture and, most of all, have a truly life-changing adventure.

I have a team of friends who care,
thank you for the moments we now share;
Lifelong bonds that will never be broken,
forged by our experience, no more need be spoken.

Jasmine Roper, Yorkshire North & West ACF and 2018 finalist