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Isle of Dogs baby bank gets Queen's seal of approval

PUBLISHED: 15:11 11 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:24 12 June 2019

The garden party at Buckingham Palace. Picture: EECF.

The garden party at Buckingham Palace. Picture: EECF.

EECF

A group of community volunteers in east London were awarded with an MBE Queen's Award for their voluntary service in the community.

Lead volunteer Jackie Thornton (right) with community engagement manager Tracey Joseph. Picture: EECF.Lead volunteer Jackie Thornton (right) with community engagement manager Tracey Joseph. Picture: EECF.

Volunteers at The Exchange in Tower Hamlets, one of the first baby banks in London, were invited to Buckingham Palace to receive the honour.

The Exchange has been in the area for more than 13 years and was created to support parents and carers on low incomes by supplying clothes, toys and equipment for their growing families.

"The impact The Exchange has made to the lives of people in the community is unbelievable, the environmental benefits of recycling are also important," said community engagement manager Tracey Joseph.

"The project's ongoing success is down to the committed volunteers so it's nice for them to be recognised for their years of volunteering."

Yeomen of the Guard (the Queen's bodyguards) at Buckingham Palace. Picture: EECF.Yeomen of the Guard (the Queen's bodyguards) at Buckingham Palace. Picture: EECF.

Charity organisation, East End Community Foundation, set up the baby bank in Tower Hamlets to help improve the lives of people living in the East End and bring people together.

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There are between 10 and 15 families who use The Exchange service every week and they are able to find a range of quality items to take away.

It is also a place for families to regularly speak to each other and get to know new people in the area.

The Exchange has grown significantly within the community because of donations from businesses, staff and residents who regularly offer their time.

Speaking about the event at Buckingham Palace, Ms Joseph said: "It was a really nice garden party. The Queen came with Kate and William and they did their rounds and shook everyone's hand. We were served tea and cakes.

"Everyone's been really pleased about it because it's a really long serving project.

"It's about time that the volunteers got recognised and all the guests where there to celebrate, I'm really pleased about it."

It's available to Tower Hamlets families in need of support and is open every Tuesday from 9am to 12pm at Barkantine Hall on the Isle of Dogs.

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