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City Hall applauds volunteers from Barking and Dagenham and Tower Hamlets for their work helping Londoners

PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 October 2019

The Islamic Circles Supplementary School's Zafar Razaq (middle) at the Mayor's Volunteering Awards 2019. Picture: Kois Miah.

The Islamic Circles Supplementary School's Zafar Razaq (middle) at the Mayor's Volunteering Awards 2019. Picture: Kois Miah.

Kois Miah

Volunteers in Barking and Dagenham and Tower Hamlets have been praised for their work making the capital a better place by London's mayor Sadiq Khan.

Whitechapel-born Emdad Rahman in Lebanon. Picture: HRF.Whitechapel-born Emdad Rahman in Lebanon. Picture: HRF.

The applause came at the Mayor's Volunteering Awards ceremony at City Hall on October 14, where Mr Khan thanked dozens of Londoners for selflessly helping their communities.

"It's so important to celebrate the wonderful work of our city's volunteers and community groups," he said.

"Volunteering presents opportunities for all Londoners to have their voices heard and make a real difference to our communities at a time when we've seen key support services cut back.

"To all the nominees and winners and to the countless other volunteers who generously dedicate themselves to helping fellow Londoners: thank you."

Beni Mondua, who coaches with Barking and Dagenham's Box Up Crime, won the Mayor's Special Achievement award.

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He is an accredited volunteer coach and works with young boys and girls aged seven to 19. Many are at risk or are already involved in crime.

Mr Mondua was celebrated for helping build confidence and aspirations in those young people and creating a safe space for them in his morning sessions.

Volunteers working with Barking and Dagenham charity North Meets South were applauded for creating weekly physical activities for older people. The goal is to promote wellbeing and reduce social isolation.

In Tower Hamlets, Zafar Razaq at Islamic Circles Supplementary School (ICSS) was celebrated for his work finding new offices for the charity when funding for rent ran out and getting students work experience in Canary Wharf.

Mr Razaq regularly recruits City workers to give career talks and inspire young people at the school, which is open to people of all backgrounds and faiths.

As a result of Mr Razaq's efforts, hundreds of previously struggling students have "significantly improved" their performance at school every year, said the award citation from City Hall.

And the mayor hailed Stepney FC's Emdad Rahman for his 25 years volunteering with sporting projects and homelessness initiatives.

This year, Mr Rhaman, who lives in Dagenham, spent a week in Lebanon to help Syrian refugees with the Human Relief Foundation. Apart from distributing food packs, he found time for a kick-about with displaced youngsters.

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