A group which assists asylum seekers and a schoolboy who has raised thousands for a children’s hospital were among the recipients of a Fusion Award this weekend.

This year’s awards ceremony took place at King George’s Hall, Blackburn. The event helps to highlight the work of volunteers, charity workers and entrepreneurs throughout the region.

You can all the pictures here: fusionawards2016redcarpet

The awards were hosted by ITV Central presenter Sam Ali Khan and opened this year by talented violinist Faz Shah.

The Asylum Refugee Community (ARC) won the Community Cohesion Award. This is the first time a Blackburn group has been honoured with this award in eight years. Opening its doors in 2004 the organisation welcomes and support asylum-seekers and refugees in Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.

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They featured in a category which included ‘A People Panorama,’ an exhibition commissioned by the Manchester Jewish Museum, the Bolton Interfaith Forum, ‘Changing Perceptions’ of the Armed Forces from Bury and Ilm 2 Amal a project based in Bolton.

Medical doctor and humanitarian activist Dr Shameela Islam-Zulfiqar was presented with the Public Service Award.

As well as her professional role, Dr Islam-Zulfiqar has assisted on humanitarian aid convoys to Syria on several occasions since the start of the civil war, delivering aid to those most in need and treating the injured in Syrian hospitals that had received no supplies for weeks.

In 2014, Dr Shameela accompanied Alan Henning, an aid worker from Salford, with an aid convoy on his final trip to Syria when he was abducted and murdered by IS extremists.

The Muslim Jewish Forum was honoured with the HomeCare For You Community Group of Year accolade.

Celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2016 the Manchester based Muslim Jewish Forum has had a profound impact in breaking down perceptions between communities.

The organisation was set up to avoid the risk of communities living parallel lives, with members of both communities having little contact with the other beyond sometimes being colleagues at work or fellow pupils at school.

Over the last decade the Muslim Jewish Forum have run a whole host of events to bring Muslims and Jews closer together, to promote understanding by developing links between youth members and students at local schools, colleges and universities through social, educational, sporting and other activities.

Councillor Heather Fletcher said, "It is a massive honour to win this Fusion Award and for our work in bringing together the Muslim and Jewish communities in Greater Manchester to be acknowledged.

“The past eleven years have not been easy but we shall continue steering our organisation forwards so Muslim and Jewish friendships can become normalities not exceptions."

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Honorary Fellow & Community Engagement Ambassador, School of Business at UCLan Russell Hogarth with Huzaifah Valli

St Wilfird Church of England Academy student Huzaifah Valli who has raised thousands for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool was awarded the Education Achievement Award.

Huzaifah Valli was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect at just two days old, and underwent open heart surgery six days later, followed by a second operation after 18 months. 

Over the last two years Huzaifah has been raising money for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, the same hospital that saved his life. Huzaifah subsequently was named an ambassador for Alder Hey for a major fundraising appeal, aiming to raise vital funds for a new hospital, Alder Hey in the Park.

Adam Bond from St Wilfird’s Church of England Academy said, “The entire Academy is really proud of Huzaifah for receiving an Asian fusion award. This award is well deserved as he is a remarkable young man who always thinks others and fully appreciates every opportunity.

“Huzaifah's fund raising efforts are nothing short of incredible. He is a credit to the Academy and his family."

Russell Hogarth, Honorary Fellow at UCLan who presented the award to Huzaifah said, “It was an honour and a pleasure to attend the Fusion Awards and chair a table on behalf of the University of Central Lancashire and to present the UCLan Education Achievement Award to inspirational student Huzaifah Valli.

“The annual Fusion Awards is a very special occasion for me as it sums up the very reason why I volunteer and support community engagement and activity.

“The minute I walked in the venue I was greeted by many warm and familiar friendly faces who always make me feel part of the Fusion community family, I congratulate the Fusion Awards organisers for their dedication and hard work over the past 10 years and thank them for bringing together so many inspirational

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The Lancashire Lions Visually Impaired Cricket Club

Lancashire Lions Visually Impaired Cricket Club  were presented with the Human Appeal Achievement in Sport Award.

The club has excelled by reaching the final of the national Twenty20 cup for the first time in their history. Despite their successes off the pitch the club has continued to inspire a wide range of players from across different communities.

Established in 2011 the club burst on to the scene by winning the Northern Development League in their first season, with a 100% record, beating more established teams.

The club is ever expanding and is now aiming to delve into other sports such as blind ten-pin bowling and goalball.

The Mumtaz Ellahi Community Sports Award was presented to husband and wife team Asghar Ali Shah and Elizabeth Shah who run the masters of Martial Arts Club in Audley.

In 2015 Asghar achieved a long-standing ambition of a Master’s status and obtained a 5th Dan Black Belt in Go-shin Kempo Ju-Jitsu. Asghar achieved this accolade despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

Wife Elizabeth, Liz for short, has helped to run the club alongside Asghar for over a decade and has herself suffered ill health and was blind in one eye before an accident in October left her completely blind.

Bolton’s Tyra Khan picked up the Entrepreneur of the Year award at this year’s Fusion Awards.

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Tyra thanked her mother for inspiring her. She said, “I feel very privileged to have won this prestigious award.

“My team and I are very passionate about teaching children and making a real difference to their future development, and it's fantastic to have these efforts rewarded.

“I have worked particularly hard over the past year to achieve Early Years Teacher Status in order to further my own knowledge in the education sector and to enrich the experiences of the children that attend Ladybridge Pre-School, my nursery.

“Winning this award has motivated me to find additional innovative ways to keep improving my business and to teach the next generation that they can achieve anything that they put their minds to.”

The BAE Systems Youth Leadership category was won by the Whitefield Youth Association (WYA) based in Nelson. The WYA is a voluntary group providing programmes aiming to develop key skills, confidence and motivation to enable young people to move into work, education or training.

The Woman of the Year category supported by AMT Lawyers was shared between charity worker Razia Anwar and Community Cohesion volunteer Madhubala Pandya.

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Razia is a campaigner and charity worker who has spent a large part of the past year assisting refugees as they arrive on European soil and in refugee camps.

Her fundraising efforts reached over £42k and during her visits she has helped to facilitate the repair of homes and donated money directly to families who have faced eviction.

Madhubala Pandya has worked tirelessly and passionately in her efforts to promote community cohesion in her home town. Madhubala is actively involved as a volunteer in many organisations including the Interfaith Forum of which she is the Hindu representative, AgeUK, Healthwatch, Youth Group and Blackburn College Chaplaincy.

Madhubala works actively with the Interfaith Forum and has worked continuously to build stronger links between faith communities and to promote community cohesion and social inclusion within Blackburn with Darwen.

Umar Ayub and Robin Maudsley picked up the ClearTwo Man of the Year award on the night.

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The duo produced a video questioning the English Defence Leagues claim that Deepdale was a no-go area for Muslims. Their actions, brought about by friendship and a love for their town subsequently galvanised a whole city and saw them become overnight internet stars.

Speaking on stage Umar said, "I thought of making the video when I was on my way home from the mosque from Jumma (Friday prayers).

"So I knocked on Robin's door and said 'Do you fancy making a video?' He said 'Yes, why not.' One shot, no practice.

"I'd like to thank my parents. My parents taught me to treat everyone with respect regardless of who they are.

"Robin has been our neighbour for over 12 years. When my father passed away, Robin was one of the few people that was there for us."

St Stephen’s Primary School head teacher David Sharkey who retires after 45 years later this summer was presented the final award on the night, the Community Achievement Award.

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The Preston teacher said, "I am overwhelmed with the honour of receiving the award, after having the privilege of being headteacher for over 24 years, of a school with 22 first languages other than English and 24% children with special needs.

“I dedicate this award to all those children who have overcome enormous barriers to achieve their potential."