Three Croydon organisations honoured with prestigious Kings Award

ASKI volunteer choir (from left to right Elsie Sutherland, Marie Williams, Shirley Farquharson, Nolda Vassell, Gail Job, Juliet McLeod, George Cole, Dahlia Lewis, Marie Brown, Winsome Griffiths, Olga Clarke, Pauline Hamilton-Black, Lenora Nelson, Sonia Walker). Pic: Jospeh Jeffries

Three Croydon based organisations have been given the Kings Award, the highest honour you can receive for voluntary service and enterprise in the UK.  

Two of the charities, Advice Support Knowledge (ASKI’s) and Croydon Vision, were awarded the honour for voluntary service, while confectionary company Monty Bojangles was presented with the gong for enterprise.  

Croydon Mayor, Jason Perry said: “I’d like to congratulate all our Croydon-based organisations who have received the prestigious King’s Award. Through receiving the King’s Award for Voluntary Services, ASKI and Croydon Vision have demonstrated the abundance of generosity and community partnership in our borough.  

“I also commend Monty Bojangles for being recognised once again for its work growing its business overseas and showcasing the entrepreneurship we have here in Croydon.” 

The team at Monty Bojangles with founder Andrew Newlands centre Left Pic: Monty Bojangles

The King’s Awards (formerly known as the Queen’s awards) were first presented in 2003 to honour those in the voluntary sector. However, the Kings Award for Enterprise has been around much longer and was first set up in 1966. It is considered the most prestigious honour you can receive in the voluntary or enterprise sector.  

A video message from King Charles on the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. Vid: The King’s Award for Enterpise

ASKI (Advice Support Knowledge Information) has been a leading voluntary organisation within the Croydon community helping people come together through their connect cafe, dance and events centre. They also run events to help older people such as lunch club and befriending opportunities.  

Michelle Ford, ASKI’s Chair, said: “It is an honour for the work of our dedicated volunteers, many of whom are retired older people, to be recognised by His Majesty the King. Volunteers are the heart and soul of our organisation, selflessly devoting their time, energy, skills, and knowledge to uplift and support the most vulnerable members of our community. This is testament to community spirit and what can be achieved when communities work together.” 

ASKI were formed in 2012 and began in Croydon, set up by a team of three people. They are now formed of 78 volunteers, speak a total of 20 different languages and 10 trained bame community leaders.  

In the last two years they have branched out into fellow Eastlondonlines borough Lewisham and moved into other boroughs as well as Croydon.  

ASKI staff left to right Agnieskza Cybula, myself Afiong Effiom and Farrah Khan. Pic: Joseph Jeffries

On its 100-year anniversary Croydon Vision was awarded the award after supporting people through sight loss and helping the visually impaired community.  

Susanette Mansour, Chief Executive of Croydon Vision, said: “This award is a testament to the transformative impact volunteer groups can have on society. It serves as a call to consider the role we can individually and collectively play in creating supportive and strong communities through giving back. To all Croydon Vision volunteers, staff, supporters, and community — this award is as much yours as it is ours.” 

Croydon Vision was formed in 1923 and helped support people with free-low cost services such as Sight loss workshops, tech training, low vision clinic and many more.  

The vision loss charity has helped people reach their full potential by breaking down taboos of being blind and helping people realise their potential.  

Kenley based confectionery company Monty Bojangles has overseen a 190% growth in its overseas market over the last three years. The company has subsequently received the award for enterprise, in the international trade category.  

Known for their famous cocoa dusted truffles, the confectionery company is no stranger to winning awards, achieving 48 great taste awards in the past for its incredible range of chocolate truffles.

Andrew Newlands, Monty Bojangles Founder and Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to have our hard work recognised, having been awarded The King’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade, with the award reflective of our outstanding growth in overseas sales. Having previously won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade in 2018, it is an honour to have been awarded the prestigious title once again. Our work is far from over, however.” 

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