314. Joy De Souza
A charity head, who has built a thriving voluntary organisation that helps run and fund community projects.
Joy De Souza, 80, and her husband Harold took over the House Project in 2003 when it was failing and in thousands of pounds of debt. What started as a team of seven volunteers based in Joy’s shed has now grown to a team of 80 running two charity shops and a community centre. The Project now delivers a broad range of community initiatives across five towns delivering everything from school equipment to counselling sessions to Christmas dinners. All of their work is funded by two charity shops and serves five towns from Rottingdean to Seaford.
Joy and Harold managed to turn the House Project around in 2003 and it is now a completely self sufficient organisation. The Project has also managed to mentor two other failing charities, trained their staff and developed them into successful, independent organisations. Joy is an unstoppable force when it comes to charitable work and is always looking for new ways to fulfill the community’s needs.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Under Joy’s leadership the House Project has inspired 80 volunteers to give their time to help make a difference in their local community – from counselling sessions to Christmas dinners. Joy’s energy and commitment to helping charities is outstanding and I am delighted to recognise her service by making her the UK’s 314th Point of Light.”
Joy said: “I decided to start volunteering because our services were so needed in our community and it’s great that the charity has got this recognition with this award. I was so surprised to hear that I had been awarded a Point Of Light! It’s brilliant news for our friends and family, and of course for the charity, and hopefully will let more people know about the project and what we do.”
MP for Brighton Kemptown & Peacehaven Simon Kirby said:
“I am delighted to hear that my constituent, Joy de Souza has won a Points of Light Award.
“There are so many inspiring people working in the voluntary sector in Brighton Kemptown & Peacehaven and it is great that Joy’s hard work and dedication to the community has been recognised. Congratulations Joy on your remarkable achievement.”