The founder and driving force behind Epping Forest's largest emergency food agency is to receive a prestigious honour at the Palace of Westminster later this month.

Pesh Kapasiawala is one of 29 people who will be honoured with a British Citizen Award (BCA) at the ceremony on January 26.

The chair of trustees of 3Food4U will be given a BCA Medal of Honour and invited to use the post-nominals BCAc as a legacy of his achievements in recognition of his services to the community.

The BCA, in partnership with One Stop, is now in its ninth year and recognises exceptional individuals who positively impact their communities throughout the country. Dubbed ‘The People’s Honours’ due to the fact that anyone with an OBE, CBE of KBE is ineligible to receive a BCA, this programme recognises true community heroes for their divergent endeavours and positive impact on society.

Epping Forest Guardian: Volunteers at 3Food4U's Loughton hub.Volunteers at 3Food4U's Loughton hub.

For more than 15 years Pesh has been volunteering to bring the community together, working with local schools, frontline agencies, churches, local authorities, and community groups, building long-term sustainable solutions to issues that affect vulnerable people in the community.

In 2020 he founded 3Food4U, a charity group of community surplus hubs across Epping Forest, offering free groceries, clothing and essentials without assessment or referral. Its ethos is ‘supporting and treating people humanely, with dignity and respect.’ It is now one of the largest emergency food agencies in Essex and North London, supporting more than 1500 families and individuals, seven days a week.

3Food4U’s holistic approach to the needs of the community has seen it expand its offering to include free counselling, NHS health checks, job club, numeracy support and memory cafés for those with dementia and mental health concerns.

Pesh is also the chairman and driving force of charity, Youth Employment Strategy (YES), which deliver motivating, inspiring and mentoring conferences to 13 to 16-year-olds and provides them with life skills and career options.

Pesh leads a team of more than 300 volunteers, made up of a diverse group of individuals aged between 13 to 80-years-old, bringing the community together and all inspired by his infectious enthusiasm and tireless energy.

The medal presentation will be hosted by TV presenter and BCA patron, Nick Knowles, and attended by another BCA patron, Dame Mary Perkins, founder of Specsavers, and The Rt Hon Lord Dholakia.

The award was established in 2015 to recognise exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on their communities and society.