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

The 2018 ceremony will take place in the Concert Hall at King George’s Hall, Blackburn on Saturday, July 7. The awards attract audiences from different towns and cities in the region, as well as people from all backgrounds, cultures and religions.

This year we honour charitable projects that have assisted people across the world as well as locally.

We also highlight the work of young people and community groups who are making a difference in helping to break down social barriers. And individuals who have inspired the community through their professional work.

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

In the Community Group of the Year category Community Spirit, a weekly soup kitchen in Blackburn is joined by the Warrington Guru Nanak Gurdwara which is the town’s only Sikh Temple. The Indian Association Oldham which this year celebrated its 50th anniversary joins the list with Rethink Rebuild Society Manchester, a non-profit organisation that acts as an umbrella for the British Syrian community.

The list is completed with Outta Skool, a community based Social Enterprise who specialise in school activities in Oldham and The Council of British Hajjis who work nationally for the welfare of British Muslims embarking on the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage to Makkah.

The Community Cohesion shortlist includes Blackburn with Darwen Interfaith Forum who engage in meaningful dialogue between people of all faiths and no faith.

Also a finalist in this category is the Wirral Deen Centre whose many projects have succeeded in uniting several communities.

The list includes Out of the Place and at the Margins: A hundred songs for Kneeze and Vijay,an art installation which explores substance use in South Asian communities. The Ram Dhoon Bhajan Mandal from Bolton are a musical group who have raised £100,000 for local charities over the years.

Our penultimate finalist in this category is Light Foundation, a Muslim organisation who raised £1000 for the family of Saffie Rose, the 8-year-old girl who was killed in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack. 

The list is completed by West Blackburn Faith Leaders Forum who have been pivotal in uniting Muslims and Christians in the area through a series of events.

The Man of the Year finalists for 2018 include Manzoor Ali who used kindness to respond to the reprehensible Punish a Muslim Day letter that was circulated. Mohammed Nadeem, a student police officer who rescued a distressed man from freezing water joins the list as well as Suleman Khonat who is a councillor for the Shear Brow ward who has helped to raise thousands for his local hospice.

The Woman of the Year category features Tracy and Marisa Lancaster who fasted for the entire of month of Ramadan in 2017 in a show of solidarity with their Muslim friends in a bid to raise money for charity after the Manchester Terror Attacks. MasterChef finalist Moonira Hinglotwala makes up the shortlist along with Shifa Patel who launched the charitable organisation Bake4Syria Preston.

This year’s Public Service award features three people whose work sees them tackle a range of issues affecting all communities.  Councillor Rishi Shori is the first minority ethnic leader of a council in Greater Manchester’s history. He is also the youngest leader of Bury council since its formation.
Also shortlisted is Waheeda Abbas, a specialist midwife at the Manchester Foundation trust.

The Public Service category is completed by Sunita Gamblin who is the Deputy Chief Constable for Lancashire Constabulary and outside of London she is the highest-ranking black minority ethnic female police officer nationally.
Contenders for the Youth Leadership Award include Let’s Be Foundation, a youth-led social action initiative that empowers and gives young people the platform to serve their local community. The second finalist in this category is ‘Don’t Hate Me,’ a film addressing anti-hate crime made by school children at St Luke’s Primary School in Heywood.

Also a finalist is Madrasah Taleemul Islam Preston whose students are regularly involved in ‘Caring for the Environment’ activities including planting trees and cleaning up their neighbourhood.

Volunteers Hands of Hope have inspired young people in their group to take part in community cohesion events. This category is completed by Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, an organisation that is fully committed to offering all members of the local community access to the highest quality programme of grassroots football.

The 2018 ceremony is supported by: BAE Systems, UCLan, AMT Lawyers, Asian Image and Supreme Dream Events.

Asian Image:

Community Cohesion Award
Blackburn with Darwen Interfaith Forum
The Deen Centre, Wirral
Light Foundation, Preston
Out of the place and at the margins: A hundred songs for Kneeze and Vijay (Portraits of Recovery)
Ram Dhoon Bhajan Mandal (Bolton)
West Blackburn Faith Leaders Forum

Community Group of the Year
CBHUK (Council of British Hajjis)
Community Spirit (Blackburn)
Indian Association Oldham
Rethink Rebuild Society (Manchester)
Outta Skool (Oldham)
Warrington Guru Nanak Gurdwara

Man of the Year
Manzoor Ali
Suleman Khonat
Mohammed Nadeem

Woman of the Year
Tracy and Marisa Lancaster
Moonira Hinglotwala
Shifa Patel

BAE Systems Youth Leadership Award
BRFC Community Trust
‘Don’t Hate Me’, M6 Theatre
Hands of Hope
The Hollins 'Let’s Be Foundation'
Madrasah Taleemul Islam

Public Service Award
Waheeda Abbas
Sunita Gamblin
Councillor Rishi Shori

The 2018 ceremony is supported by: BAE Systems, UCLan, Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner, AMT Lawyers, Asian Image and Supreme Dream Events.