A CHARITY which helps the homeless in York has been celebrated for its work.

Carecent, based at the Central Methodist Church in St Saviourgate, was recently awarded the Duke of York’s Community Initiative Award.

Representatives from Carecent, including project leader Nicky Gladstone, were invited to a reception at St James’ Palace where they met Prince Andrew, along with members of about 40 other charities from the region.

Nicky said the awards were made to community groups who showed value to the community, were well run and an inspiration to others, and she was pleased the charity had won recognition.

She said: “It’s a tremendous honour to receive this award. The best thing about it is that it was a real team effort – customers, volunteers and management were all interviewed by the awards panel, so the success belongs to the whole Carecent community.

“The award is like a kitemark and assurance we’re a proper organisation, and they give us advice and help. We’re really hoping it will help with future funding appeals. It’s been like this for 30 years and it’s lovely, but we’re always looking to do what we do as well as we can, so we want to modernise a bit, improve the facilities so the next year will see a lot of fundraising.”

The charity hopes to replace the current kitchen, and install a customer toilet and shower to help those who use Carecent, and Nicky said plans were already underway. To celebrate the award, Carecent held a tea party for all customers and volunteers, so that everyone could celebrate together, and the awards judges returned to the church to join them. Nicky said: “The St James’ Palace reception was nice, but that was the most important because we all got together.“That was a really happy occasion, and the people who interviewed us for the awards came back for that, which was lovely. They said we really knew how to thrown a party, it was really great.”Carecent opens six mornings a week, and has recently started opening on a Thursday afternoon to provide activities and company for homeless and socially excluded people, for the first time in the charity’s 30 year history.