The CEO of Hammersmith and Fulham Foodbank has been awarded an MBE in recognition for her outstanding contribution to charity work.
Daphine Aikens, 52, was thrilled to receive the award last month, but is modest about her success.
She said: “I have been very fortunate. I have to share the credit with quite a few people. I owe those people a big thanks.”
Mrs Aikens has managed the independent charity since creating it in 2010. She leads a team of volunteers who are committed to helping people in the borough and has said often that she would not be able run the charity without their help.
With so much going on Mrs Aikens stays grounded by volunteering in the foodbank as much as possible. Knowing about all the success stories acts as motivation for her.
She said: “Hearing stories and knowing the difference you make, that is what keeps me going.”
Mrs Aikens has lived in London for more than 30 years. She said: “It’s where I feel at home, I love the borough, this is my parish in a way.”
Mrs Aikens will receive the award in the upcoming weeks from a senior cabinet member.
She set up the foodbank because she saw too many people were struggling and too many children just didn’t have enough food.
According to The Trussell Trust, foodbank use is increasing every year.The Hammersmith foodbank alone helped up to 464 people over a week in December.
Mrs Aikens said “No-one should be experiencing hunger in this country. There are basic rights that we should have.”
She is also very well known across the community, as many notable people were very complimentary about the work that she has done.
Mr Greg Hands, MP for Hammersmith and Fulham, has worked with her regularly and was thrilled to hear of the news.
Mr Hands said: “I have known Daphine for ten years, and she richly deserves the recognition for devoting a big part of her life to helping those in need.
“I meet with her regularly to discuss the food bank and any relevant issues pertaining to public policy.”
Mrs Aikens wants to address the stigma associated with using a foodbank. She said: “The man on the street will not understand how stressful it is to be so poor that you can’t afford food.”
Mrs Aiken’s Christian faith helps her create a welcoming atmosphere. She said: “Every time someone leaves more hopeful than when they came in, that is a success story.”
If you would like to help support the work that Mrs Aikens and her team do, you can donate via their website.