A project benefiting young people in Chichester has been honoured with the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.
Chichester Bell Tower Youth Drop-in is one of five organisations in West Sussex selected for this year’s Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The award recognises the work of volunteers, supporting young people in Chichester and the wider district by providing a daily after school drop-in, with mentoring support and a young leaders development programme, as well as in-school support.
Nick Taunt, who recently retired as head teacher at Bishop Luffa School, said: “I was happy to nominate this wonderful project for an honour. The Bell Tower’s work offers a real benefit to young people in Chichester.
“In my time as head of Bishop Luffa, I saw a positive impact on the attitudes, behaviour and attendance of those children who frequented sessions. I congratulate Sam and his team for their dedication to this powerful and worthwhile project.”
The award recognises excellence in voluntary activities and services carried out by groups in the community.
Sam Harding, project manager, said: “The award recognises the work of numerous individuals who have volunteered within their community to improve the lives of so many young people.
“Without the dedication of these volunteers, The Bell Tower Youth Drop-In would not exist. I feel very privileged to lead the project and will celebrate the fact that we have received this award from the Queen with our team of volunteers from across the community.
“I feel particularly proud when I see many young people who have used our centre for years, choosing to come back to volunteer and give back to their community, creating a lasting cycle of positive change.”
The Bell Tower Youth Drop-in is based in the Cathedral Bell Tower in central Chichester. It is open five days a week, from 3pm to 5.30pm, to all secondary school pupils during term time.
Anthony Gardner, a trustee of Dexam Trust, which sponsors the drop-in, said: “As a regular sponsor and supporter of their work, we are delighted to hear that the Bell Tower Youth Drop-In centre has received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
“It is thanks to all those who give so much of their time and energy to serve their community through this valuable project, creating a safe environment for young people to thrive.”
The formal presentation of the award will take place later in the year.