A businessman and veteran fundraiser has been given a prestigious award.
Mohammed Shakeel Faraz, from Heckmondwike, has been recognised at the Palace of Westminster with the distinguished British Citizen Award (BCA) in recognition of his extraordinary endeavours with the Magic Wishing Well.
The British Citizen Award in partnership with One Stop, is now in its eighth year and recognises exceptional individuals who positively impact their communities throughout the country.
Mr Faraz received his honour on 24 March with The British Citizen Award for Services to the Community. He was presented with his medal of honour by Tom Redman, general manager of one of the award’s sponsors, Big Bus London.
Mr Faraz grew up in Heckmondwike seeing his family struggle financially. Driving him to want to change his path and push himself to become a successful entrepreneur, he knew that when success came, he would use it to help others.
Over the last 5 years, Mr Faraz has been passionate about making changes in the local community. One of the first projects was providing free food parcels to people in need, which was originally self-funded.
He soon realised the magnitude of the need and how this was not sustainable, so started fundraising with his team undertaking activities, including charity car washes, BBQs and auctions. The team has to date raised almost £1 million for various projects.
The need for the food parcel delivery service was increased during the first lockdown. Mr Faraz felt a base was needed to create a local food bank which he opened with his own money.
After seeing how many people were affected and in need, the homeless he also decided to run a hot meal plan every Sunday, which meant those in need came along for a hot meal but also got to share their issues and see how they could be helped
Every year Mr Faraz delivers hundreds of Christmas presents to children’s wards throughout West Yorkshire as well as making some wishes come true for the terminal ill.
Jonny McQuarrie, from BCA partner One Stop, said: “This year’s medallists have reminded us of how many amazing people are supporting our communities, especially during such a challenging time.
“At One Stop we serve many communities across the country, and we know how important voluntary work is to support those in need.
“We’re proud to be partnering with the BCA again and to play a small part in helping each medallist to be recognised. Our congratulations go to all honourees.”
The British Citizen Award (BCA) was established in 2015 to recognise exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on their communities and society.
The BCA recognises true community heroes who would otherwise likely be overlooked. Dubbed ‘The People’s Honours’, many recipients have subsequently been selected to receive a Queen’s Honour after their endeavours have been recognised with a BCA.
Each medalist had a day to remember befitting their achievements. At the Palace of Westminster medals were presented by Senior Representatives from official partners One Stop, Places for People, Specsavers, Objective HR and Experian, who all support this unique programme.
Following this, medalists are treated to an Open Top Lap of Honour tour before attending a certificate presentation at the prestigious Church House.
The British Citizen Award is widely viewed as the nation’s way of recognising extraordinary, everyday people for their exceptional endeavours and is truly representative of today’s multicultural Britain.