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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Teens from Bradford’s Young in Covid documentary wins Good Morning Britain’s mental health champions award

Young people from the Khidmat Centres have been given an award on live TV this morning.

Hasnain Shafiq and Muhammed Ali Islam, both 18, are co-founders of Youth Kutz, were awarded Good Morning Britain’s (GMB) 1 Million Minutes Mental Health Loneliness Award by boxing legend, Frank Bruno.

They appeared alongside Sofia Buncy DL, national co-ordinator of the Khidmat Centres and producer of the Young in Covid documentary that was released earlier this year.

Young people, including Mr Shafiq and Mr Islam, featured in the documentary, opening up about their experience living through the Covid-19 pandemic.

The winners alongside Alex Beresford and Frank Bruno.

Mr Shafiq and Mr Islam founded Youth Cutz together, an organisation where young people can come for a free haircut and speak about their feelings and mental health.

GMB presenter Alex Beresford revealed the pair as the winners, adding: “Guys, you have been nominated, but I don’t travel 400 miles for nothing, you are our winners.

“All that talking, encouraging people to come in and give them free hair cuts has paid off.”

Mr Islam said: “It’s unbelievable to get recognition for leading on the Young in Covid film and our barber’s shop from Frank Bruno. He is someone who has publicly struggled and spoken about his own mental health challenges.

“He’s a legendary heavyweight champion so if he can talk about it then it inspires us to also continue the conversation. As a boxer myself, he’s a real hero of mine and one the greatest.”

Fresh Cutz emerged from the Young in Covid documentary.

Mr Shafiq added: “It has been a year of endless hard work and campaigning for us on young people’s mental health in Bradford through Young in Covid & Youth Cutz.

“It’s good to be recognised and it shows how much of difference projects like ours can make in the lives of young people not just in Bradford but across the country. Young people need to be supported to do more.”

Sofia Buncy said: “Young in Covid and the subsequent Youth Cutz initiative that came out of the project has demonstrated the national reach that small grassroots-based initiatives are having.

“Young people need to be nurtured and creativity and ownership needs to come from them to develop community-led solutions to recovery but more importantly mental health initiatives that work.

“We are extremely proud that Young in Covid and Youth Cutz’ passion, determination and diligence has achieved national recognition for them and the city of Bradford from Good Morning Britain.”

The duo didn’t know until yesterday that they were up for an award.

The young people nor the partners of the documentary were aware that they had been shortlisted for an award. “It wasn’t easy but I had to keep that to myself to maintain the element of surprise and receive their genuine reactions”, Ms Buncy said.

She added: “I kept this going up until the day before the award reception (today) but had to give a little away as the young people kept asking why they had to be at Khidmat Centres for a 7am start which for young people is super early!

“I then informed them that they had been shortlisted for an award and were required to speak about their work.  They were genuinely speechless and caught off guard when Frank stepped out but also delighted and humbled.

“I don’t think any of us ever imagined when we started Young in Covid and the Youth Cutz in November 2020 that we would be winning national awards, along the way we knew we had something special but this has reinforced just how much these initiatives have resonated with people.”

Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “It is fantastic to see the hard work of young people in our local communities has been recognised nationally.

“Mental health, particularly among men, is something we focus on in the Council and seeing the additional support that Youth Cutz offers young men shows the strength and creativity of our communities in Bradford.”

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