We’re thrilled for The Genesis Project a community project based in Grove Hill, Middlesbrough, who have been awarded one of the first King’s Awards for Voluntary Service.

The King’s Awards for Voluntary Service are the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK and are the equivalent of an MBE for voluntary service. They are awarded to groups that are outstanding, volunteer-led, and benefit their local communities.

The Genesis Project, which was established 20 years ago, provides a range of services and activities for the whole family, including a community garden, a lunch club, a food bank, a youth club and gym, a parent and toddler group, and a craft group. The project is there for the whole community and especially those who are struggling with poverty, isolation, mental health issues, and addiction.

The Reverend Kath Dean, the Chair of the Genesis Project, said: “We are absolutely delighted and honoured to receive this prestigious award. It is a recognition of the hard work and dedication of our staff, volunteers, and supporters, who have made this project possible. We are passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of the people we serve, and we are grateful for the opportunity to showcase our work on a national level.”

The Genesis Project has been supported by the County Durham Community Foundation, which has funded the project at different stages as part of its Poverty Hurts campaign, and through its Greener Communities Fund. Fundholder Esh Construction’s Greener Communities Fund contributed towards their community Garden Project; growing everything from lettuces to cabbages, tomatoes and courgettes for the community to enjoy.

Michelle Cooper, our Chief Executive said: “We’re very proud of The Genesis Project and their amazing achievement. They’re a shining example of how a grassroots community project can transform a neighbourhood and give people a chance to create a better, brighter future.

It’s been a privilege to support them over the years, with grants for various aspects of the work they do.

We hope this recognition of their success will inspire others to get involved and make a difference in their communities.”

The Genesis Project will receive the award from one of the King’s representatives, a Lord-Lieutenant, at a ceremony at their premises. They will also be invited to a Royal reception and be able to use the King’s Award emblem.

Watch a short video about The Genesis Project below.