The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for Humdum UK
By Emdad Rahman
Humdum Community Interest Company, a group of volunteers based in Barking & Dagenham, Essex have just been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
This is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE.
The volunteers at Humdum prepare fresh, nutritious, hot meals several times a week for local people who are facing hardship.
The team also work closely with local grassroots initiatives to extend support to the wider community, including local homeless hostels, care homes, individuals referred by the NHS and Bookbike London.
Humdum have launched a new restaurant in Barking Town Centre to sell food as part of the team plan to become more self sufficient in the long term.
Humdum Chair Kishwar Bhola commented, “I had a dream to use my love of food to serve my community, to spread love and harmony, to build bridges and to improve mental health and wellbeing.
“We have a dedicated group of wonderful volunteers and the support we receive has been outstanding. It warms my heart to no end that we have received this great honour.”
Humdum Head of Operations Nighat Bhola added, “The magic of our success is no secret. We are female led and the dedication we have amongst ourselves inspires me every single day.
“Through our humble efforts we have had the honour of reaching out to thousands and thousands of people whilst engaging with many grassroots organisations and individuals.
“Today is a great day for us to receive The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. We will enjoy and cherish this moment but more importantly, we will use this historic moment to increase our efforts to bring about positive social change.”
Visitors to Humdum can also eat a homemade hot meal at the centre and take a fresh food parcel home with them.
Humdum are one of 244 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. Their work, along with others from across the UK, reminds us of all the ways in which fantastic volunteers are contributing to their local communities and working to make life better for those around them.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee.
Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteer groups from across the UK, including: a rural support group for farmers in Shropshire; a community magazine addressing isolation in the Western Isles; a running club engaging all ages in County Tyrone; a film academy and community hub based in South Wales, and a food bank in Greater London feeding vulnerable individuals and providing training opportunities.
Representatives of Humdum will receive the award crystal and certificate from Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE, the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London later this summer. In addition, two volunteers from Humdum will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2023 along with other recipients of this year’s Award.