Manor Gardens Welfare Trust CEO awarded British Empire Medal

Katy Porter, CEO of Islington-based charity Manor Gardens Welfare Trust

Katy Porter, CEO of Islington-based charity Manor Gardens Welfare Trust - Credit: Manor Gardens Welfare Trust

The leader of a health and wellbeing charity has been honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to the community during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Katy Porter, chief executive of Manor Gardens Welfare Trust, has been given a British Empire Medal for launching a drive to support people experiencing food poverty and those having to isolate last March.

She built and strengthened links with GPs, the council and other voluntary sector organisations, and established a team of staff and volunteers who collected and assembled food parcels, distributed them and provided emotional and wellbeing support along the way. 

Volunteers at Manor Gardens Welfare Trust preparing food parcels 

Volunteers at Manor Gardens Welfare Trust preparing food parcels - Credit: Manor Gardens Welfare Trust

Manor Gardens distributed nearly 3,000 meals to 1,500 people in six months from its HQ in Holloway.

Katy also helped oversee volunteer cyclists delivering hundreds of oxygen saturation probes, enabling them and their GPs to monitor their condition in their own homes. 

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She told the Gazette: "Right at the start of the pandemic we were thinking what we could do, and what we saw immediately was the food crisis. I remember walking into Sainsbury's and the shelves were empty. 

"It was fearful times certainly and the staff stepped up.

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"We have had lots of messages of thanks, and many people were saying what a lifeline it was.

"We often work with people who already have health inequalities and we wanted to make sure the food was of a good standard, and something that was given with care. 

"There was an appreciation of what was provided."

She added: ‘This honour has come as a complete surprise.

"I'm genuinely honoured and humbled by it.

"I feel it's recognition of all we have achieved at Manor Gardens Welfare Trust, and I constantly want to emphasise that this is something I have not done in isolation, and could not do in isolation.

"We usually work with 150 volunteers each year, but we had 500 people contacting us in March saying they wished to be involved.

"My award is recognition of all those people offering their time, because we as an organisation wouldn't have been able to achieve that without a fantastic staff team and all those people who came forward as volunteers." 

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