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24 June 2014

Queen awards community action

Queen awards community action

Two Manchester-based Christian charities have received the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, which is an MBE for organisations.

The Hub community centre, a partnership between Altrincham Baptist Church and Trafford council, and The Mustard Tree, a large social justice charity based in the city centre, have both been honoured.

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service is given to groups of volunteers who regularly devote their time to helping others in the community for improving the quality of life and opportunity for others and providing an outstanding service.

The Hub, which works closely with many other partnership organisations, is a community centre which presents itself to the public as 'your community, your place'.

It invites people to come and relax, find a welcome, enjoy delicious home-made food in the café and get involved in a wide range of activities on offer. People can receive professional care and support or even become one of their highly-acclaimed volunteers too. It also runs informal groups and clubs as well as training courses and support services courses. There is a professional counselling service and successful debt management centre run in conjunction with Christians Against Poverty.

11-year-old Jada, who lives locally, said:"When I heard a community centre was going to open I thought we were going to get a dingy old place covered in graffiti, but we got something different. We got a bright and colourful building where people can meet. It's run by people who love their job and offers activities and services for all ages."

Andrew Smyth, the centre manager said: "This award is a huge honour for us and is a fitting recognition of the hard work and many, many hours our volunteers put in to care for and serve the people of our community. We are so fortunate to have such a dedicated team of high quality volunteers from all walks of life. We hope that this will be a springboard to enable us to grow and develop the services we can offer to the locality."

CEO of The Mustard Tree, Adrian Nottingham said: "The Mustard Tree exists to provide choice and opportunity for people who are homeless and marginalised.

"There is a proverb which says: give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. In reality both are required. We provide both crisis intervention and sustainable support and development".

The organisation receives 375 referrals a month and helps 4,500 clients a year. The majority of the clients are referred from statutory agencies such as Manchester City Council teams, the probation service, the NHS and local housing associations. It provides life support and promotes sustainable solutions through the provision of food, clothing, furniture, training and expertise. It also seeks to improve the life-skills, resilience and well-being of clients so that they have the choice and opportunity to move into work, education, training or volunteering.

"We are delighted to have been recognised for this award," said Adrian. "It has been a privilege to have offered support to so many people at their time of need and vulnerability, and whilst that would have been reward enough, to be the recipients of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service is a huge encouragement."