The Royal seal of approval: CARIS Haringey gets a nod from the Queen

Arising from the gloom of the pandemic is a good news story from one Haringey Giving’s grant recipients, CARIS Haringey. The Tottenham-based charity, which works with homeless families across the Haringey borough, has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.   

CARIS works to make a difference to homeless families living in temporary accommodation and unsecured accommodation across Haringey Borough. The charity provides these vulnerable families with support, outreach and legal advice services. It also runs a mobile toy library, a play and early learning drop-in and special playschemes, as well as education programmes such as English classes.

Twin children with Thank You CARIS Haringey pictures they have created

Tonya Mavri, one of the charity’s family support workers, says: “CARIS has always supported families in Haringey with no recourse to public funds. These are families that cannot claim any government assistance. No universal credit, no housing benefit, no child benefit, no free school meals. Some have work restrictions in place so earning a living is not an option. This makes it almost impossible to survive. Our support has never been needed more than during this pandemic when any of the additional support systems for these families have been withdrawn.” 

She adds: “CARIS is run by a small team of four workers that cover the whole of Haringey. We rely heavily on our amazing team of volunteers to support our work; we could not do half as much without them.”

CARIS Haringey Team members wearing protection against COVID-19

The work of these volunteers, and the whole CARIS team, has been recognised not just across Haringey, but by the British royal family. On 2 June 2020, the charity was named as one of 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Volunteers at the CARIS Haringey foodbank, each holding a bunch of flowers

Every year, the award recognises outstanding work by volunteer groups that benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and recipients are announced each year on the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. 

Representatives of CARIS Haringey will receive the award from Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, later this summer. Furthermore, two volunteers will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2021.

Queens Award for Voluntary Service logo

CARIS Director, Gloria Saffrey says: “CARIS is not just an organisation, it is a community of support for those in need, and our volunteers are at the heart of it. We are extremely delighted that CARIS’ work has been recognised. We pay tribute to the hard work, support and commitment of CARIS Haringey’s volunteers. Without their help CARIS would not be able to achieve all we do. Our volunteers range in age from teenagers to retired people. Many are previous service users, wanting to help others experiencing challenges they themselves have faced. We are so grateful to them all.” 

Haringey Giving is a proud supporter of CARIS Haringey. When the Covid-19 crisis stuck and the charity’s work became even more critical, we were able to step in and offer help when it was needed the most, thanks to the generous support of our Haringey Heroes.

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Shopping bags of food and provisions donated by the public

“Without grants and funding, we could not provide the necessary support to Haringey's most vulnerable families,” Tonya says. “The Haringey Giving grant has helped us to consistently feed these families and provide them with essential items such as hand sanitizer and cleaning products, plus nappies and baby wipes, along with food items. Each week, the families come and collect a few crates worth of supplies to see them through. I personally deliver to families that have been self-isolating or are unable to leave the house.” 

CARIS Haringey Food Boxes

While the crisis is beginning to slow, there’s still more work to be done. Haringey Giving wants to keep support for charities such as this going but we need the help of our Haringey Heroes. We’re currently seeking urgent donations so we can continue to fund projects and support Haringey’s most vulnerable people.


Inspired by this story?

Haringey Giving wants to keep supporting more local community projects like this but we need the help of our Haringey Heroes. With your help we can fund more projects and support Haringey’s most vulnerable people.

Donate now   Help us raise funds