A HOMELESS charity has been honoured with a prestigious royal award.

CHESS Homeless announced it has been granted the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of its work in the voluntary service.

The charity has thanked Maldon District Council and other partners for helping it with some of its projects.

The award is the highest that a voluntary group in the UK can receive and is equivalent to the MBE.

Previous winners include the British Red Cross, RNLI and Age UK.

CHESS chief executive officer Rob Saggs said: “This award is all about teamwork. Volunteers carry out a significant percentage of our organisational activities.

“Putting it simply, CHESS could not operate without the support of our volunteers and we are eternally grateful for their commitment to our five key services.

“I should also express our gratitude to the councils that we work with in Maldon, Chelmsford, Braintree, Epping and Rochford, as well as many other partners that we work alongside on some of our projects.

“Members of the public who support us with donations play an equally important role in our operation.”

The work of CHESS was highlighted because of its volunteering programme.

The charity had 89 active volunteers during the last financial year.

Each gave an average of 72 hours of their time – resulting in a total of 6,336 volunteering hours.

County Hall health and adult social care boss John Spence said: “For many years I have seen the great work that CHESS does, not just in helping people off the streets but helping them back into the mainstream with housing and employment.

“No award could be better deserved.”