A church project which supports people struggling to make ends meet has received an award from His Majesty the King.
Shildon Alive, which operates in Shildon in County Durham, has received the King’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The project is run by staff and volunteers at St John’s Church in Shildon. It provides crisis support, works to alleviate social isolation, and provides hundreds of meals each week for those facing challenging circumstances.
The honour was previously known as The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the first time the award is being given the name of His Majesty King Charles III.
The King’s Award for Voluntary Service is the equivalent of the MBE for voluntary organisations.
Shildon Alive is one of 262 organisations across the UK that were handed the award this year.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer expressed her gratitude to the charities.
She said: “Each year, millions of volunteers give up their time to provide care and support, and this award recognises those truly making a difference to the lives of others across the United Kingdom. It’s brilliant to see the King continue the legacy of
Her Late Majesty and reward those who support their local communities with kindness and compassion.”
Project manager at Shildon Alive, Paula Nelson, said: “Our team at Shildon Alive are committed to supporting our community every day of the year. We are enormously proud to receive this prestigious award. The atmosphere in the hub is well and truly alive today.”
Shildon Alive prepares fresh meals out of surplus supermarket food. It also has a shop where people can pick up take-away meals. For those who can afford it, they can choose from a paid menu, but there’s also food available to vulnerable adults, on a donation basis as well as free meals for school-age children.
On top of providing meals, the project runs a food bank, a credit union and support for people dealing with money troubles and unemployment.
The project also gives opportunities for young people interested in the catering industry a chance to work with food.
Rev Carol Harris, chair of Shildon Alive, said: “I am proud and delighted to hear that Shildon Alive has received this national award which recognises all the hard work, commitment and compassion of the staff and volunteers. We have an amazing team who make such a difference to our community.”
Sue Snowdon, His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of County Durham said: “I am delighted to congratulate Shildon Alive on this wonderful recognition by His Majesty the King.
They are a shining example of a community group making an extensive and crucial difference to families and individuals.”