A Croydon charity has been awarded a prestigious honour by the queen for its work helping homeless people on the streets at night.

Over the Jubilee weekend, Nightwatch was given The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award that voluntary groups in the UK can receive.

For more than 40 years, the charity has taken to the streets of Croydon every night, supporting up to 100 people each evening. As well as food, it hands out clothing and other essentials to homeless people and those in need of help.

Nightwatch chair Jad Adams said: “We are very proud of our more than 40 years of service to people who need us in Croydon.

"In recent years we are pleased to have kept our service running through every night of the pandemic.

“Volunteers went out, long before there was a vaccine and when food was getting scarce at supermarkets, to make sure that no one who needed our services went hungry. When everywhere was closing down, we did not miss a single night.”

Nightwatch was founded in 1976 and has since been run entirely by volunteers. 

The charity has grown to support formerly homeless people moving into new accommodation providing them with furniture and giving hardship grants to people in crisis.

 Mr Adams said: “We have over 100 volunteers at any time. Some stay for many decades but others are with us only a few years while they are in Croydon on their life’s journeys.

“People come to us from a wide range, from students to retired people looking for a new challenge.

"Over the years we have taught thousands of volunteers the skills needed to serve the community in which they live.

"Some have even joined international organisations and have taken experiences honed at Nightwatch to work abroad with refugees, famine and disaster victims.”

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was created in 2002 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee.

Two volunteers from Nightwatch will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2023.