A club in Bedford helping children with disabilities has won a national award.
The Smiley Club for children and teenagers with learning and physical disabilities has been named as Charity of the Year in the First Give Awards.
The club, which meets in Bedford on Wednesday evenings in term time, was contacted by a team of students from Bedford Girls’ School who wanted to represent it in the First Give Charity Programme.
The enthusiasm and commitment of the girls led the Smiley Club to be nominated for an award.
Club chairman Mike Bonney and his wife May attended the ceremony at the City Hall, London and were thrilled when the club was announced as the winner.
Mike said: “Smiley Club is a small self-funding registered charity run completely by volunteers, most of whom are teenagers who support and befriend the members and this award is a wonderful encouragement to us all in the work that we are committed to.”
At the ceremony Mike thanked the students from Bedford Girls’ School and dedicated the award to all the teenagers who have volunteered at Smiley Club over many years, who have made it the vibrant and happy place that it continues to be.
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The London event showcased the exceptional talents of students, charities and teachers who have made the organisation’s first year so successful. Among guests was Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, who congratulated award winners.
Tim Pare, First Give’s director said: “The awards were a fantastic celebration of youth social action at its very best. It was also incredibly important for us to recognise the huge contribution of schools, teachers and charities to the First Give programme.
“It was wonderful to have so many of our supporters and friends, all of whom have played such an important role and continue to partner with us as we work to engage over 20,000 young people this academic year.”