There is another accolade for St Giles Trust’s multi-award winning SOS Project following the news that Elroy Palmer, Team Leader in our SOS west London office, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2016 Birthday Honours List for his community work.

Elroy leads a team helping highly vulnerable, disadvantaged young people in west London caught up in or at risk of gangs and serious youth violence. The team offer intensive, tailored round-the-clock support to young people and those around them, guiding them towards positive, crime-free futures.

Elroy first joined St Giles Trust in 2009 as a Caseworker on our SOS Project, helping young people involved in the criminal justice system. He then progressed to become Team Leader when SOS established a service in west London. In addition to working with clients, Elroy’s role involves brokering good working relationships with a range of statutory partners to act as a voice for the young clients he supports who are often reluctant to engage with these services.

In October 2015, Elroy shared a platform with Justice Secretary Michael Gove at the Conservative Party Conference and gave a moving account of his life from his days in the criminal justice system and the barriers he faced when trying to look for work with a criminal record.

Elroy said:

This is a vindication of the work marvellous work carried our day in day out by the whole team at SGT. It has been a pleasure being involved in the ground breaking SOS project since 2009, the dedication of my amazing team has been a sobering experience. It is this collective effort that has made it easy for me to collect this great honour on behalf of the whole team who are the real heroes bringing hope and light to those caught in despair on the margins of life.

Rob Owen OBE, Chief Executive of St Giles Trust, said:

“I am totally thrilled for Elroy. It is a tremendous achievement and an amazing endorsement of his work. From every one of us here at St Giles Trust our huge congratulations to him.”

The SOS Project and its team members have won multiple awards over the years. In 2008, SOS Founder Junior Smart won the South London Press’s Star of South London Awards, 2009 saw a commendation for Junior in the Longford Prize and a win for the SOS Project in the Centre for Social Justice Awards. 2011 saw Elroy’s colleague Barrington Wright win Volunteer of the Year in the Third Sector Awards, in 2014 the SOS Project won the Advice, Support and Advocacy category of the Charity Awards and SOS Caseworker Mona Morrison received a commendation in the Longford Prize.