Published Thursday 28 February 2019 at 11:29
Volunteers and community heroes from across Blackburn were honoured at the annual 1V Community Champion Awards.
The awards were part of the community organisation’s Annual Dinner, which brought together representatives from the borough’s communities.
A total of ten awards were presented at the event in King George’s Hall on Friday 22 February, and One Voice staff and volunteers were also recognised.
The awards included the Mohammed Khan Leadership Award, presented to the Keep Blackburn Tidy group.
Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of the Council, said:
“I am delighted Keep Blackburn Tidy is being recognised for their efforts. Our borough is blessed with two fantastic Keep Tidy groups, in Blackburn and in Darwen, and our borough would be a worse place without them.
“But the Keep Tidy groups are not just about litter: they are bringing people and communities together around the goal of loving where you live and being proud of your town.”
The Youth of the Year Award went to Nathan Pugh of the Keep Blackburn Tidy group. At 10 years old, Nathan is the youngest winner in the history of the One Voice Community Champion Awards.
The Institute of the Year was won by ARC, an outreach project that supports refugees and asylum seekers to integrate into their local community.
Phil Boulding of local organisation Secret Santa was named Man of the Year.
And the Woman of the Year award went to Liz Crook, who founded Rummage Rescuers and Personalising Freedom, not-for-profit organisations that aim to support and empower local people.
The awards culminated in the John Roberts Outstanding Achievement Award which was presented to specialist organ donation nurse Angela Ditchfield.
“It’s an absolute honour to have won this prestigious award. Working to raise awareness of organ donation within Muslim communities is an essential part of seeking to reduce inequalities in health. It is an issue I am passionate about and it is a pleasure working with such a responsive group.”
1V Excellence Awards were also presented to Jal Iqbal, Isma Sajid, Anneka Iqbal and Tahseen Patel in recognition of their achievements over the last year.
Youth empowerment was a key theme of the evening, with 15 year old local girl Ayah Abdualsalam taking on the role of awards host. Pop group ‘Banned’, formed by One Voice’s West End Girls (WEGS) group, also showcased their new-found musical talents with performances that opened and closed the evening.
The event also featured a key note speech from Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw. Also speaking on the night was Ronan McMahon, Club Link Maker managing the Satellite Clubs intervention at Active Lancashire, and Nadya Osman, Young Leader of the 1V Scouts.
Chief Executive of One Voice Blackburn, Zaffer Khan, used his address to talk about the importance of recognising the new age of digital communication.
The event also saw the official launch of One Voice’s boys’ group East End Boys, and the Heritage Project which looks at life in the Lancashire Mills. An organ donation awareness programme ‘Let’s Talk About Organ Donation’ was given its first public airing.
One Voice Chairman Abrar Hussain said, “The Annual Dinner was a wonderful evening with so many inspiring people gathered together in one room in a spirit of tangible cohesion.”