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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Community group striving to improve Bradford recognised with King’s Award.

One of Bradford’s fastest community groups, Bradford 4 Better (B4B) has been given a Royal seal of approval, with the King’s Award for Voluntary Service.

On Saturday 27 April volunteers, guests and community leaders gathered to celebrate the King’s honour, but also join in the celebration of the inaugural Bradford4Better Awards 2024 at Carlisle Business Centre. The event was a pivotal moment in shining a spotlight on the relentless efforts of volunteers and community champions who tirelessly strive to improve Bradford.

Bradford’s largest volunteer led community action group recognised with a King’s Award. Image: Ruth Agbolade Photography

Guests in attendance including HM Lord-Lieutenant for West Yorkshire, Ed Anderson CBE, who bestowed upon Bradford4Better the King’s Award for Voluntary Service, accompanied by the shimmering Kings Award crystal. Professor Adeeba Malik CBE DL, Deputy Lieutenant and High Sheriff of West Yorkshire, and Dr Sofia Buncy MBE DL, Deputy Lieutenant, highlighting the significance of the occasion. Additionally, Naz Shah, the Member of Parliament for Bradford West, added her voice to the chorus of appreciation, acknowledging the profound impact of Bradford4Better’s endeavours on the Bradford community.

The event served as a poignant reminder of Bradford4Better’s humble beginnings, stemming from the frustrations of Inayah Sher one of the founders and others in a small group of community activists in 2019. Their unwavering commitment to tackle issues such as littering, fly-tipping, dangerous driving, and nuisance fireworks laid the foundation for what has evolved into a formidable force for positive change in Bradford. MP Naz Shah reminisced about her early involvement with the organisation, commending its resilience and dedication.

Inayah Sher one of the early founders, shared an impassioned speech which resonated with the audience as she recounted the frustration that sparked the formation of Bradford4Better. Her journey mirrored that of countless individuals who refuse to accept the status quo and instead choose to mobilise their communities for a brighter future.

Professor Adeeba Malik CBE DL provided insight into her role as High Sheriff, underscoring the importance of civic engagement and community collaboration. Her acknowledgment of Bradford4Better’s tireless advocacy further underscored the organisation’s impact.

Throughout the event, Tony Fernandez of Africa 4 U, along with Bradford4Better’s leadership team, including Shahid Islam, Dr. Sohail Ahmed, and Kashif Ahmed, eloquently chronicled the organisation’s evolution.

Welcoming the King’s Award Chairman Dr Sohail Ahmed said: “This award is for all those that believe in making Bradford better. Without the dedication and passion of our volunteers, we could not have made such an impact in our community. Thank you to all those that have been part of this journey and all those that recognised our efforts.”

Shahid Islam, Vice-Chair expressed with enthusiasm: “We’re absolutely over the moon for receiving this award. Of course, we don’t do the work in order to receive accolades but when we receive them, they do make us understand that our work is appreciated. In the words of Margaret Mead, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’”

Kashif Ahmed, Secretary of Bradford4Better added: “We are deeply honoured to receive this esteemed recognition, which serves as an affirmation of our unwavering commitment to making a positive impact in our community. We are grateful for the support we have received from our volunteers, community and partners, which has been instrumental in our success. This recognition inspires us to continue our efforts in creating a better future for Bradford.”

Yasar Mohammed, Treasurer, said, “We are deeply honoured and happy that B4B has been recognised for the work that has been done in the past four years. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our incredible volunteers as well as our core team. By working together with others, we have created real change for the residents of Bradford. We look to do many more projects in the near future and request more people to get involved and help make a difference in their areas.”

From vital support during the COVID-19 pandemic to collaborative projects aimed at fostering unity and progress, Bradford4Better’s journey embodies the spirit of grassroots activism at its finest.

The presentation ceremony for the King’s Award for Voluntary Service served as the pinnacle of the event, symbolising the culmination of years of dedication and hard work. As HM Lord-Lieutenant Ed Anderson CBE read the certificate and letter from King Charles, the room reverberated with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Dr. Sohail Ahmed, Chairman of Bradford4Better, accepted the prestigious crystal with humility and gratitude, acknowledging the collective efforts of all involved.

However, the accolades did not end there. Bradford4Better took the opportunity to honour other volunteers and key partners in the community, recognising their invaluable contributions to the fabric of our city. Their heartfelt words resonated deeply, reaffirming the transformative power of volunteerism and community service.

Late son of Khalil Ahmed, Sami Ahmed recognised by Bradford 4 Better Image: Ruth Agbolade Photography

One key honour and recognition was Sami Ahmed, the late son of Khalil Ahmed (Bradford4Better founding member and former Vice Secretary), who lost his life in a tragic accident in the Lake District in July 2022. Sami posthumously received the first ever B4B Award for Inspiration Young Person, an award that will be dedicated in his name for all future awardees. Khalil accepted the award on behalf of Sami and also spoke about Sami’s character and dedication to positive causes and voluntary efforts.

In Sami’s memory Khalil has also set up a GoFundMe page to support charitable activities in Sami’s name, including “a purpose built development consisting of a school, Masjid, centre for girls, residential apartments, recreation and play areas, clinic and water well on the Turkey/Syria border” which aims to “rehouse displaced families and children from the recent war and earthquakes.” To donate visit https://gofund.me/60763ba5.

Bradford4Better continues to expand its focus to address health inequalities and behavioural change, recognising these as crucial aspects of community well-being.

As the event drew to a close, it left an indelible mark on all who attended—a testament to the enduring spirit of collaboration, resilience, and hope that defines Bradford4Better and its tireless champions. As they continue their noble mission to create a cleaner, greener, and safer Bradford, they extend an open invitation to all who share their vision to join them on this journey.

The B4B Awards 2024 marked the inaugural celebration of community champions, with Bradford4Better intending to recognise amazing volunteers on a yearly basis.

The community action group are calling on more people to join the movement.

For more information on how you can get involved email hello@bradford4better.com.

Here’s wishing Bradford 4 Better and all volunteers the best for the future and more success in making Bradford a great city.

 

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