Charity wins highest honour from the Queen for helping youngsters

Mick Mellows from Faith and Football at Buckingham Palace
Mick Mellows from Faith and Football at Buckingham Palace
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THE charity Faith and Football has been honoured by the Queen for helping children from across Portsmouth.

Faith and Football has been given the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

As part of the charity, volunteers help youngsters through community, football and educational programmes with organisations such as the police, schools, and neighbourhood groups.

The charity also runs an Enterprise Challenge programme which helps youngsters build their entrepreneurial skills.

Director Mick Mellows said: ‘We are honoured to have our work in Portsmouth and elsewhere recognised by Her Majesty by the granting of this award.

‘I know that it’s entirely down to our volunteers, numbering over 100, who give up their time to improve the lives of countless inner-city youngsters through their mentoring, coaching and above all, encouragement.’

The charity has also helped children in Birmingham, Barnsley and Aldershot and offered support for orphanages overseas and business colleges.

Faith and Football’s chairman of trustees Peter Jeffs, from Fareham, said the charity had helped more than 8,000 youngsters over the past 12 years.

Mr Jeffs said: ‘Much of our work has been centred around educational programmes, going into schools and mentoring children who are struggling with their reading.

‘We are very proud to have this recognition from the Queen and the Cabinet Office, particularly as it comes on the top of our patron, Linvoy Primus, securing an MBE earlier this year.

The Queen’s Lord Lieutenant, Nigel Atkinson, said: ‘Faith and Football is an outstanding example of how voluntary service contributes hugely to sectors of the community. They are worthy winners of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2015 providing vital support in their local area.

‘I am thrilled to be able to pay tribute to the group’s co-ordinators and their volunteers who work so tirelessly.’

The charity will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire later this summer.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service committee chair Martyn Lewis said: ‘I warmly congratulate all of the inspirational voluntary groups who have been rewarded for their community work.’