East Belfast Mission awarded highest charity honour
A Belfast charity has received the highest honour awarded by the Queen to volunteer groups in the UK.
The East Belfast Mission was yesterday presented with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Services, the equivalent of an MBE for voluntary organisations.
It was presented by Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle CBE at a celebration lunch also attended by Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast Peter McReynolds.
The East Belfast Mission, which is part of the Methodist Church in Ireland, has helped more than 10,000 vulnerable people from the local community to make positive changes in their lives over the past six years.
The charity, based on the Newtownards Road, offers various services, including homeless and employability programmes, as well as a cross-community Irish language project and counselling and pastoral care. The work is carried out by 130 volunteers.
Andrew Irvine, chief executive of East Belfast Mission, said it had been an honour to receive the accolade.
"Today's presentation and celebration is a wonderful reminder of the depth and breadth of commitment and passion across the mission's volunteers and staff," he added.