Volunteers have been given a prestigious award for helping up to 1,500 people a year at Goodmayes Park get into sport and community activities.

Members of Ilford’s Ekota Academy, who also run a community café in Aberdour Road, are among volunteers from 262 charities, social enterprises and groups getting the The King’s Award for Voluntary Service this year.

“This is for every volunteer that has ever worked with us, whether one hour or hundreds,” the academy’s chair Sultana Rahman said. “Their contribution has helped projects that strengthen the community.”

The word ‘ekota’ in Sanskrit means ‘unity’, showing how the organisation works to bring people together and helps children from underprivileged families.

Redbridge Council’s parks director Kevin Wackett said: “Their successes in activities like football and cricket is outstanding. These committed volunteers bring people together to use the green space.”

The award was created in 2002 to recognise volunteers who benefit their communities.