A charity that has helped to support students in Wolverhampton during Covid and the cost-of-living crisis has been given a special award.

The Sant Zora Singh Lopon Charitable Trust, based at the Sant Ashram, won the award for Outstanding Contribution to Student Communities at the Wolverhampton University Students’ Union Awards.

The charity has helped students through both the Covid pandemic and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis by providing food, supplies, and support.

During the pandemic, volunteers worked in conjunction with SU CEO Nirmla Devi to organise an outdoor Diwali celebration, cooking fresh food and distributing it to students.

Since then, the charity, which is based in in Woden Road, Park Village, has continued to provide meals and supplies to students who may be struggling to make ends meet.

Sarah Bishop, chair of the Students’ Union Trustee Board, said: “This organisation has been pivotal in providing much-needed support to our students over the past two years.

“The Pandemic was an especially difficult time for students in higher education. Campuses were largely closed, students went online, and it was a very isolating experience, especially for international students who were thousands of miles from home.

“In October 2020, our CEO who had been in post for just a couple of weeks worked with the trust to help celebrate Diwali. This was the beginning of a wonderful partnership based on mutual respect.

“The Trust has continued with this kindness and cooked and delivered meals to our students most in need and they have also provided staple food such as rice and flour which we have given out to students along with recipes created by our Sabbatical Officers.

“They themselves are a charity and have to rely on volunteers and donations, so we are hugely grateful for and appreciative of their support.”

Trust spokesman Hardeep Grewal said: “I am truly honoured to express my deep gratitude to the Students’ Union, for this award. We are honoured to be recognised for this award and want to thank you all for recognising the effort put in by our volunteers.

“Working collaboratively with staff at the University has allowed us to follow through with our values in particular selfless service which we as Sikhs live by. This wouldn’t have been possible without the help of such a fantastic team at the University. We also want to thank our supportive volunteers, who are always willing to support others, go above and beyond in times of need and in particular support their community to overcome challenges. We are honoured to continue supporting our students’ communities and the University going forward, as learning is a fundamental part of our future.”

The Trust’s award was one of 21 given out at the 12th yearly Students’ Union Awards. Other winners included Highfields Primary School for Placement Provider of the Year and a host of other inspiring student and staff awards.

Nirmla Devi, Students’ Union CEO, added: “The Trust has been a real lifeline to students who have been struggling both through the pandemic and with the rising cost of living.

“They have never hesitated in offering their time and help to make life a little easier for our students and we are hugely grateful to all the volunteers.”

This year’s awards were held on Thursday night (MAY 18) at Molineux’s Haywards Suite.

Nirmla added: “It was fantastic to be able to show our appreciation to all those who have gone the extra mile to enhance the student experience.

“There were awards for students, staff and outside organisations who go above and beyond in offering placements for our students.

For the full list of winners, visit: https://www.wolvesunion.org/su-awards-nominations/