VOLUNTEERS in Leigh have been honoured by The Queen on the anniversary of her coronation in recognition of their hard work during the pandemic.

The Bridge at Leigh received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the MBE for voluntary groups and the highest accolade such groups can receive in the UK.

The volunteers were also selected for special recognition following their hard work in the community during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Bridge has been a successful community cafe and food market since 2016, reducing food waste while addressing poverty and exclusion, offering support, wellness and social inclusion.

In March 2020, The Bridge closed the cafe and market due to coronavirus restrictions and turned into a delivery service for people who were struggling to shop for food and essentials. Around 100 hampers were delivered each day by an army of volunteers.

The Food Market has since reopened and offers affordable food to people in the community by intercepting edible products before they go to waste. Volunteers are hoping to be able to offer wellness sessions, classes and group therapies too. The Bridge is one of 241 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive one of the prestigious awards from The Queen, after they were created in 2002 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee.

Trustee Dorothy Bowker said: “We are delighted to have received this award to recognise the hard work and commitment our volunteers have done in the community and I would like to pay tribute to each and every one of them – they are all heroes.”

Representatives from The Bridge will receive the award crystal and certificate from Sir Warren Smith, Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, in the summer, and two volunteers will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May next year.