Homelessness charity Croydon Nightwatch has been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, it has been announced today.
This is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in this country, the equivalent to an individual being given the MBE.
Nightwatch is out every night of the year providing services to as many as 100 needy people.
The charity provides warm food, bags of groceries, clothing and other essentials. Nightwatch volunteers also provide work-related clothing to people seeking work, furniture for those moving into new accommodation and hardship grants for people in crisis need.
Jad Adams, the chair of Nightwatch, said: “It is a great honour to be recognised in this way, particularly in such an important year for the Queen.
“We are very proud of our more than 40 years of service to people who need us in Croydon.
“In recent years, we are pleased to have kept our service running through every night of the pandemic. Volunteers went out, long before there was a vaccine and when food was getting scarce at supermarkets, to make sure that no one who needed our services went hungry.
“When everywhere was closing down, we did not miss a single night.”
Nightwatch was founded in 1976 and has always been entirely voluntary, with no paid staff.
“We have more than 100 volunteers at any time. Some stay for many decades but others are with us only a few years while they are in Croydon on their life’s journeys.
“People come to us from a wide range, from students to retired people looking for a new challenge. Over the years we have taught thousands of volunteers the skills needed to serve the community in which they live. Some have even joined international organisations and have taken experiences honed at Nightwatch to work abroad with refugees, famine and disaster victims.”
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities.
It was created in 2002 at the time of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on June 2, the anniversary of the coronation.
Award winners this year include a rural support group for farmers in Shropshire; a community magazine addressing isolation in the Western Isles; a running club engaging all ages in County Tyrone; and a film academy and community hub based in South Wales.
Six Representatives of Nightwatch will receive the award crystal and certificate from Sir Kenneth Olisa, the Lord-Lieutenant of London, later this summer, while two volunteers will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace next year.
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