A youth charity based in Evesham has received an award that is the equivalent to an MBE.

The Ourside Youth Association, a voluntary organisation, recently received The King's Award for Voluntary Service, the crowning achievement for voluntary groups in the UK.

Established in 2004 by a group of young people unfulfilled by the existing community resources, the association provides invaluable support to youth in the area, fostering an inclusive environment that allows their voices to be heard.

The association offers a range of services including mental health support, substance awareness, career support and activities such as arts, sports, and music, along with free nutritious meals and cooking tuition.

The charity was selected from 262 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the illustrious award this year, in recognition of the key role volunteers play in contributing to local communities.

The award began in 2002 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee, a tradition the King wishes to persist.

Founding member and chair, Carly Elwell said: "Receiving this award means so much to us in recognising the passion and dedication of everyone who makes Ourside so special and makes a difference to so many young people's lives."

Secretary and founding member, Kirsty Hartwell, said: "I am so honoured that Ourside are receiving this award, what the young people get out of the support from Ourside and what they go on to achieve themselves is incredible.

"I hope I can be a part of Ourside for many years to come."

Centre manager, Bev Wride, expressed her gratitude by said: "Receiving this award gives very special recognition and allows a very big totally deserved public thank you to all of our passionate, incredible and selfless volunteers who work tirelessly often behind the scenes driving the youth centre forward allowing us to provide such a vital space for young people."

Representatives of the association will receive the award crystal and certificate from Beatrice Grant, Lord-Lieutenant of Worcestershire later this summer.

Furthermore, next year, two volunteers from the charity will be invitated to the Buckingham Palace garden party.