A HAMPSHIRE charity which helps people "with nowhere else to turn" has received the highest award available to volunteer groups in the UK.

The Totton-based Youth and Families Matter (YFM) is one of 230 organisations across the UK to win this year's Queen's Award for Voluntary Service - dubbed the MBE for organisations of that type.

YFM, which has more than 50 volunteers and 16 members of staff, works to improve the wellbeing of children, young people and families.

During the past year it has supported more than 2,000 people through a programme that offers one-to-one support plus activities, courses and a food bank. It also runs the Chapel Cafe and the Treasure Box charity shop.

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The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by voluntary groups in their local communities.

Ray Maher, chairman of the YFM trustees, said: "This is an amazing achievement for us and rightly recognises our fantastic volunteers who regularly give their time and skills to support our work.

We would not be able to do what we do without them and we can't say 'thank you' enough.

"We are very much aware of how critical our role is locally to the many children, young people and families who have nowhere else to turn, but to see our work get national recognition is a huge honour."

YFM will be presented with the award by the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson, later in the summer.

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Two volunteers from the charity will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May next year, along with other winners of the 2020 award.

YFM was nominated for the honour by Totton councillor David Harrison.

He said: "I am absolutely delighted that they have been accepted. The organisation has done an exceptional job, supporting the local community for years and years."

YFM, which was established in 1993, offers a frontline service that delivers welfare support to people in the Totton area.

Many of its normal activities are currently on hold but the food bank is open at Testwood Baptist Church between 10am and noon, Monday to Friday, and family workers are available if needed.

Anyone who needs the charities help can call 023 8086 0320 or email info@youthandfamiliesmatter.org.uk.