A Mildenhall grandmother who set up a charity to help disadvantaged young people and adults has been honoured with a national award.
Kate Geeson, 60, won the Enterprise Mum award at the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards 2015 for her committed charity work.
The mother of two and grandmother of five set up Phoenix Trust Milton with three trustees in 2006. The completely non-profit organisation offers supported work experience and employment advice to young people and adults with learning disabilities and mental health or behavioural problems.
Mrs Geeson, who also runs an IT and web consultancy with her husband Philip, said: “I feel quite emotional, but I don’t understand why anybody can’t do what I’ve done.
“As a mother I have a natural instinct to help people and do the best I can for them. I’ve always had a soft spot for people less privileged than myself, I’ve not done badly out of life and I want to give something back to them.”
Kate was nominated by her daughter, a teacher who works with pupils with special educational needs.
“She’s passionate about what she does,” said Kate. “I am very proud of her for nominating me, it makes me feel I must have done okay as a mum.
“My whole family has been excellently supportive.”
Phoenix Trust Milton is currently helping around 25 young people and adults at its centre, which includes a carpentry workshop and kitchen garden.
Kate said: “It is amazing to be able to help them get on and achieve their goals, it’s just an indescribable feeling.
“These are people who may have mental health issues, or may have been excluded from school, and we help to turn their lives around.
“People who’ve previously received help from us often come back to volunteer.”
In addition to her award, Kate was given £5,000 by Tesco to give to the charity of her choice. She said it is all going back into Phoenix Trust Milton, with £1,000 to be spent on a new pallet truck for the centre.
She said: “I had no idea I was going to get this money. We never know where the next penny will come from, so it’s a real help.
“The good this award is going to do for the charity is the most important thing.”