SPIRITULIZED project leader Anji Chant has been named in the New Years Honours list, but will accept the award on behalf of her volunteers.
Anji, who is the driving force behind Spiritulized, a charity working with young people in Kingsbridge, will be awarded the British Empire Medal, BEM, which is awarded for ‘“hands-on” service to the local community’.
‘I’m bowled over’, said Anji when she heard about the honour, ‘I will be accepting it on behalf of our team of amazing and dedicated volunteers, without them nothing would have happened.
‘We have had lots of volunteers on board for years, it will be 20 years since Spiritulized started next year so it will be a great start to a big year, but its hats off to the team, whose dedication and ongoing commitment is incredible.
‘Some have been with us for the full two decades and some are there week in and week out and have been for 20 years.
‘I am also hugely thankful to my family who have made many sacrifices to help make it all happen. 2017 sees our 20th year of working with young people in Kingsbridge and the surrounding area, and we look forward to many more exciting milestones to come.’
Anji will visit Buckingham Palace in June to be presented with her award and attend the garden party.
The Prime Ministers office released their reasons for honouring Anji, with a spokesman saying: ‘She identified a severe lack of support in this rural community and is the driving force and Project Leader behind the charity, Spiritulized and their work in the community.
‘Her passion and enthusiasm has helped raise over £150,000 and meant the work of the charity has grown and has supported over 2,000 people.
‘She identified that young people in Kingsbridge were getting into trouble on Friday nights. As a result, she started the Friday Night Project, gaining support from local businesses and charities to open a Café.
‘Since opening, the café has supported around 900 young people a year. She identified a need to widen their reach to the 19 rural parishes and instigated the Bus Project, which gave a completely new approach to youth work and has been pioneered by Spiritulized.
‘She ran marathons to raise money to provide an accessible, customised bus, fully equipped with audio visual technology that creates an enjoyable and mobile environment in which to engage with young people as they tackle the issues facing them today.
‘She identified the lack of employment help and raised £5,000 to start a Work Club, which has been running now for four years.’