Matt Allwright and Stephanie Wood of One Stop with award-winner Akef Akbar BCAe

The recent cohort of medalists have collectively been responsible for over £21.2m in fundraising, have impacted over five million individuals

On Thursday 29th June at the Palace of Westminster 26 individuals from around the UK were awarded the prestigious British Citizen Award for their exceptional endeavours which have positively impacted communities up and down the country.

The British Citizen Award in partnership with One Stop, is now in its ninth year and recognises an elite group of exceptional individuals twice annually. The prestigious event was hosted by TV presenter Matt Allwright.

The June 2023 cohort of medalists have collectively been responsible for over £21.2m in fundraising, have impacted over five million individuals, and have been committed to their chosen causes for over 398 years collectively.

Each person selected to receive the BCA Medal of Honour as a legacy for their achievements, richly deserves the right to use the letters BCA after their name in perpetual recognition of the nation’s gratitude.

Among the 26 honoured was Akef Akbar from West Yorkshire, who received their BCA for Services to Education (BCAe).

Akef is a driving force in the community, uniting people with his strong drive, determination and showing how to work together supporting each other, irrespective of religious background.

Cllr Akbar in recent years has carried out humanitarian work with Hope 4 Humanity in Sindh, Syria and has plans to travel to Gambia this year.

He throws himself fully into fundraising challenges to support community projects that are close to his heart, raising over £150,000, to strengthen the fight against poverty and social injustice through education.

During the pandemic, Akef supported local residents suffering from isolation, fear and financial crisis and assisted families financially to meet basic needs such as food and bills. Throughout the pandemic he assisted with Muslim burials during a time when PPE was limited, and no vaccine was in place.

Recently, Akef has funded free school uniforms as well as volunteering at local charity Hope 4 Humanity which operates both here in the UK and abroad. He uses his professional profile to create better community connections across different religions and faiths and works with local institutions to create better relationships across his community.

As a member of his local Mosque, Swafia Masjid, he identified the need to support positive relations with the non-Muslim community. This inter-cultural cohesion is attributed to paving his path to helping his community in a multi-faceted way.

Akef was presented with the Medal of Honour by Stephanie Wood, from BCA Partners One Stop who said: “It’s a true honour to be partnering with the British Citizen Awards again this year and a huge congratulations to all of those who have been honoured.

“During what can only be described as a challenging last couple of years, it’s been so wonderful to hear of those stories from our medallists and how they’re striving to better their communities and supporting those who need it most.”

Immediately following the formal presentations the medalists and their families boarded an open top bus for a Lap of Honour Tour courtesy of Big Bus London.

After taking in some of the iconic sights of the capital they disembarked at Church House in Westminster for a Certificate of Honour presentation. The certificates, presented by representatives from One Stop, Specsavers, Places for People, Uniserve and Objective HR, completed the official BCA proceedings. Each of the organisations associated with the BCA reflect the community-spirit and care for the community that the medalists are recognised for.

The British Citizen Award 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’, the BCA has so far recognised over 480 exceptional individuals for their divergent endeavours, making them a very exclusive group of the nation’s favourites.

Anyone with an MBE, OBE or Knighthood is ineligible for a BCA having already been deemed to have received recognition, however, anyone receiving the BCA can still be nominated for the other honours. Nominations can be made a