Community cohesion campaigners and charitable organisations lead the list for this year’s Fusion Awards.

The 2017 ceremony will take place in the Concert Hall at King George’s Hall, Blackburn on Saturday, May 13. The awards attract audiences from different towns and cities in the region, as well as people from all backgrounds, cultures and religions.

Asian Image:

This year we honour charitable projects that has assisted people across the world as well as locally. And we also highlight the work of young people and community groups who are making a difference in helping to dispel myths. 

Five individual honours include the UCLAN Education Achievement Award, Achievement in Sport Award, Community Sports Award and the Entrepreneur of the Year and the Community Achievement Award.

The official charity in 2017 will be national charity Penny Appeal.

In the Community Group of the Year category the East Lancashire Deaf Society are joined by Connect UK a group which raised thousands for their local Hospice. The Love and Etiquette Foundation which has staged a numbers of arts and culture events throughout the year also makes the list. Carers Link Lancashire, a service that provides support to carers across Burnley, Pendle, Rossendale, Hyndburn and the Ribble Valley is named as a finalist.

Blackburn’s Abu Hanifah Foundation which has continued to break new grounds in revolutionising education and leadership within the community makes the list for the first time.

The Sri Lankan Bolton Community (SLBC) UK completes the Community Group of the Year category.

The Man of the Year finalists for 2017 include ‘Blind Journalist’ Mohammed Patel who now works for the BBC and Moheen Uddin who has assisted in helping street children through ground breaking programmes in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Volunteer and charity worker Shazad Shauket who has led six visits across Europe to help refugees is also a finalist.

The Woman of the Year category features writer and campaigner Aisha Mirza and Marzia Babakarkhail, a judge before leaving Afghanistan in 2008 who was targeted by the Taliban after setting up a foundation to educate girls. Haesel Abbott, whose community work sees her organise classes for women in the community is also named.

This year’s Public Service award again features four people whose work sees them tackle a range of issues affecting all communities.

Sherish Aslam is a passionate advocate for all those afflicted with domestic violence, especially within the Asian community. Dr Rehana Master, a full time GP volunteers within local communities as well aiming to raise aspirations of young people. The third finalist is Sister Lynne Bromley who works with Bolton’s south Asian, black and minority ethnic populations to highlight the dangers of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. 

Naz Zaman, Chief Officer of Lancashire BME Network completes the category. Naz works to enable the BME voluntary, community and faith sector to be represented and is a serving magistrate on the East Lancashire bench.

Contenders for the Youth Leadership Award include Beyond Labels: In Young Men’s Shoes, a group that comprises 11 boys between the ages of 11‐16 from 5 different nationalities who use various creative platforms to talk about the social pressures that young men face today. 

The Blackburn United Girls Football team have been inspiring players from different ages and aiming to break down barriers for women in sport. 

The My Place Project works to protect, create and enhance wildlife at grassroots level and the 99th Oldham Compass Scouts have been hosting a range of innovative activities in their home town for young people.

The Community Cohesion shortlist includes five organisations. 

Blackburn Youth Zone aim to create a positive future for young people in Blackburn with Darwen and they host 3,000 young people from all backgrounds every week. The New Beginnings Project of Blackburn YMCA is an initiative that works with the refugee community in Blackburn with Darwen with a view to safeguarding them from radicalisation and terrorism.

The Bolton Hindu Forum hold a number of large public events throughout the year to promote community cohesion, cultural awareness, educating the wider public of the Hindu religion and celebrating their traditions.

The Preston Muslim Society have through their monumental fund raising efforts helped to break down barriers. Their efforts were shared across the world
And during a year when there has been strong focus on hate and division following Brexit the Faith Network for Manchester have been shortlisted.

A BAE Systems spokesman said, “Our business has always celebrated people who are not afraid to challenge the status quo and push the boundaries to tackle challenges whether they face our business or our community.

“The Fusion Awards shares these values and the Youth Leadership Award which we sponsor throws a spotlight on those young people who making a positive difference in their communities by pushing their own boundaries.

“We are proud to be supporting the awards and look forward to reading the inspiring stories of what young people are doing to make life better for the places we live, work and play.”

A UCLan statement "At the University of Central Lancashire our mission is to create positive change in our students, staff, business partners and wider communities, enabling them to develop their full potential by providing excellent higher education, innovation and research.

"We are proud to be supporting the Education Achievement Award which honours those who have excelled in their education against the odds or have helped to inspire their local community through volunteering and charitable work."

Asian Image:

Penny Appeal Community Group of the year
Abu Hanifah Foundation (Blackburn)
Carers Link Lancashire (Regional)
Connect UK (Blackburn)
East Lancashire Deaf Society (Regional)
Love & Etiquette Foundation (Regional)
Sri Lankan Bolton Community (SLBC) UK

BAE Systems Youth Leadership Award
Blackburn United Girls Football team
Beyond Labels: In Young Men’s Shoes (Hyndburn)
My Place Project (Regional)
Oldham Compass Scouts

Public Service Award
Dr Rehana Master
Naz Zaman
Sherish Aslam
Sister Lynne Bromley 

Man of the Year
Mohammed Patel
Moheen Uddin
Shazad Shauket

AMT Lawyers Woman of the Year
Aisha Mirza
Marzia Babakarkhail
Haesel Abbott 

Community Cohesion Award
Blackburn Youth Zone
Bolton Hindu Forum
Faith Network 4 Manchester (FN4M)
New Beginnings Project
Preston Muslim Society

A limited number of tickets are available for members of the public and can be purchased here: