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Youth worker tackling street crime in Poplar gets British Citizens award for 'going that extra mile'

PUBLISHED: 12:15 11 July 2019

Nahim Ahmed and his 'British Citizens' award. Picture: Poplar Harca

Nahim Ahmed and his 'British Citizens' award. Picture: Poplar Harca

Poplar Harca

A youth worker who goes out on the streets of Poplar into the night tacking youth crime by making contact with disaffected teenagers in his own time has won a 'British Citizen' award.

Nahim Ahmed was given the award in a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament for making "a significant impact on the community".

Yet he had a troubled time himself growing up in Poplar and left school without any GCSEs.

But he managed turned his life around and put himself through higher education, completing undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

He uses that experience to tackle youth crime directly by visiting hotspots and engaging with the hardest-to-reach young people.

"I feel as if it's part of my identity to help people," Nahim said. "I can sleep knowing that I helped change someone's life".

Now at 29 he is a senior youth worker at Poplar Harca housing organisation, helping hundreds of youngsters over the past 10 years to build self-confidence and skills.

Nahim goes that extra mile and has been out and about until 1am to deal with anti-social behaviour on the streets during Ramadan for the past two years, in addition to his day job and his religious fasting.

One youngster he has been helping is 18-year-old Ashraf Ali, who praised Nahim saying: "He helped me so much on issues at home, family and employment.

"I can relate to him because he has been through a lot in his past and openly talks about it, which makes me feel I could speak to him about my issues at home."

Nahim "went out of his way" helping Ashraf complete a four-day course with the Security Industry Association. Ashraf now has a job and looks forward to his future.

Poplar Harca's Spotlight youth service director Dan Rose said: "The 'British Citizen' award is a measure of Nahim's commitment and integrity. The young people he works with are delighted that he's been recognised."

Nahim focusses very much on employment and training, helping the under-25s get on education courses and eventually jobs.

He was presented with a medal and certificate at the Palace of Westminster ceremony hosted by TV presenter Matt Allwright and is now on the Roll of Honour.

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