Is ‘working class gong’ good enough for voluntary work?
The Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will revive The British Empire Medal (BEM), which some describe as the ‘working class gong’. Hopes are that it will be used to reward those that do voluntary work but are not senior enough to get an OBE or MBE.
The BEM was phased out in 1993 by then prime minister John Major as he believed it to be class based and outdated. Instead he increased the number of MBEs given out to keep the balance ensure no-one was left out.
A quick search on the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours List shows that 82 out of 1304 honours were awarded for ‘services to the voluntary sector’. That’s just over 6%.
We are big supporters of rewarding and recognising voluntary work and volunteering. Our vinspired awards are great for improving your CV and the recognition is not only well deserved but acts as a great incentive to do good. And our National Awards not only celebrate and recognise the brilliant contribution that young volunteers make to the community but allow us to tell the world about the great things young people can offer.
It’s great that the Prime Minister believes that we should do more to recognise the dedication and hard work people devote to their communities. But are we being palmed off with a second rate award?