Royal honour for Sunderland charity worker's service during covid pandemic

A Sunderland charity worker has been honoured by the Queen for her work during the Covid pandemic.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 10:30 pm

Mahtab ‘Matti’ Morovat has worked for the city’s Fightback Charity, which campaigns on behalf of marginalised people from a wide range of backgrounds, for 12 years.

She is the only member of the charity’s part-time staff who has worked full-time every day – including weekends for the first four months of lockdown – in its base in High Street East’s Eagle Building to support the vulnerable and those affected by COVID-19 across the city.

Now she has been awarded the British Empire Medal in today’s Birthday Honours list in recognition of her efforts.

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Mahtab Morovat has been awarded the BEM
Mahtab Morovat has been awarded the BEM

The commendation says Fightback is a charity ‘set up to help people who experience multiple disadvantages or are marginalized because of social and intrinsic factors, such as, being an asylum seeker, refugee, being disabled, destitute, a BME individual and/or having complex physical and/or mental health issues’.

“During the Covid-19 outbreak, the vast majority of other organisations offering a similar service closed their doors but she put in place changes to allow Fightback’s services to continue,” it says.

"Fightback were the only organisation providing a face-to-face drop in service from July, which is still in operation within government guidelines, and they are still receiving referrals from other organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau.”

It says Matti has also been ‘a key part of Fightback’s effort to continue to provide much-needed weekly food parcels, and to extend this service beyond its normal user base to anyone in need’.

Matti with some of the donations in the charity's offices

Fightback currently distributes more than 100 parcels a week.

Matti, 40, said she had been amazed to discover she was nominated: “I am absolutely delighted and humbled to receive this award – I was really shocked when they contacted me,” she said.

And she admitted: "I just cried on the phone like a little girl.”

Matti says her work would not have been possible without her support system: “It is about team work. Everybody has been involved,” she said.

"We could not make a difference without our fantastic trustees, our funders and our amazing team of volunteers.”

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