A charity providing a sit down Sunday dinner for those in need at two locations in Southampton is to receive the King's Award for Voluntary Service.

Southampton Sunday Lunch Project is among three Hampshire charities to be handed the highest award a local voluntary group can receive, equivalent to an MBE, in an announcement by His Majesty The King today. 

Founded in 1990, the project invites local adults to its centres in Woolston and St Denys every Sunday.  With no questions asked, each guest enjoys a hot meal in a warm and welcoming environment.

Daily Echo: Southampton Sunday Lunch Project has been awarded the King's Award for Voluntary Service

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Southampton Sunday Lunch Project serves up two or three course meals, including roast dinners, spaghetti bolognese, curries and crumbles, to around 140 people every week and has a bank of 100 volunteers to call upon. 

Chair Valerie Laurent - currently the Lord Mayor of Southampton - has been involved in the group for many years. She told the Daily Echo: "We help all sorts of people who are in need, those who are homeless, some who can't afford food and others who are lonely.

"Going back a long time, my husband faced redundancy and, because we lived in, we found ourselves homeless. It wasn't as disastrous as some people who live on the streets, but it's made me appreciate the way we live. 

"We're excited and delighted by the award, which is for all our volunteers. We're very proud to receive such an honour."

Daily Echo: Southampton Sunday Lunch Project has been awarded the King's Award for Voluntary Service

The prestigious national honour, created in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee, recognises outstanding contributions made to local communities by groups voluntarily devoting their time for the benefit of others.

The other Hampshire winners of the award are Level Up Gosport and Andover Trees United. 

There are 262 winners of this year’s award across the UK, all of whom were nominated by members of the public who have been helped personally by, or witnessed the benefits of, a group’s work in their community.

Winners will receive a certificate signed by HM The King and an exclusive commemorative crystal award, to be presented by His Majesty's personal representative in Hampshire, Lord-Lieutenant Nigel Atkinson, at a special ceremony.  Group representatives are also invited to attend a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in the summer.