There are six finalists in the Volunteer of the Year category at 2023's Community Stars Awards.

Local volunteers have an intimate understanding of the community’s needs, challenges, and resources.

Bringing a wide range of skills, knowledge, and expertise to their work, our finalists contribute in various ways, from mentoring youth and providing healthcare services to organizing community events and clean-up efforts.

Often being more culturally sensitive and aware of the social dynamics within the diverse Bradford communities, this enables them to build trust and establish connections with community members more effectively.

In times of crises or emergencies, local volunteers can respond quickly and efficiently because they are already on the ground.

Their immediate presence can make a significant difference in providing assistance and support.

Bradford’s volunteers help build social capital by fostering a sense of community and strengthening bonds among residents. This social cohesion can lead to increased community resilience and a higher quality of life.

Our finalists are engaged with their communities for the long term. This commitment has lead to more sustainable and lasting improvements in the Bradford region.

Bradford’s volunteers help build social capital by fostering a sense of community and strengthening bonds among residents.

This social cohesion can lead to increased community resilience and a higher quality of life.

Local volunteers are crucial to the local community because they are uniquely positioned to make a significant impact on their communities by leveraging their local knowledge, cultural sensitivity, and personal connections.

Their contributions often lead to more effective, sustainable, and community-driven development and support initiatives.

Volunteer of the Year finalists

Rangzaeb Iqbal

Rangzaeb Iqbal has been nominated by his daughter Amreen Iqbal, who said: “My father is a diabetic and suffers from kidney and liver problems and sometimes struggles to walk, but he still continues to work hard and give a lot back to the community, he is a great asset to a lot of people.

“He works as a bus driver and also does over a 100 hours of voluntary work by working alongside muslim funeral service and helping people wash their loved ones.”

Rangzaeb has also devoted himself to educating the young about the dangers of speeding. He held an awareness event which was attended by 1,500 young people and which has been viewed by 50,000 on YouTube.

Rangzaeb said he felt honoured to receive a nomination, adding: “I feel happy that I’m able to lift some weight off the shoulders of those people who have lost their loved ones.”

Aminah Hussain

Aminah Hussain is a volunteer at Bradford Doulas, a project which offers practical and emotional support to pregnant women and their families before, during and after birth.

Her nominator said: “Aminah has shown commitment and passion in her role as a doula. She has helped pregnant women who have been socially isolated to feel valued and supported.”

Joshua Smith

Joshua Smith is a community first responder for the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.
His nominator described him as a “truly extraordinary individual” who had helped to save multiple patients’ lives.

Joshua said: “It is with great humility and a deep sense of pride that I have become a finalist for the Volunteer of the Year award for my work as a Community First Responder for Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

“This nomination serves as a testament to the unwavering commitment of the entire team of Community First Responders across the region. Together, we work tirelessly to provide lifesaving assistance and calming support to those in need during their most vulnerable moments.

“Our shared dedication to patients has been the driving force behind our successes, and I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to be part of an incredible team.”

He added: “This nomination is not just for me but for all the volunteers who have dedicated their time and efforts to respond to emergencies and provide aid.

Mani Salim and Phoenix FC

Mani Salim and Phoenix FC do valuable work within the community giving children and adults, including women and girls, the chance to play football. The organisation also recently added a deaf team.

The nominator said: “All the coaches are volunteers and pay for
their own training as coaches.”

Shummel Uddin

Shummel Uddin has been a volunteer for many years, giving his time to many projects such as helping to clean the local park, helping out at the local football club, taking part in bucket collections and delivering food parcels.

His nominator said: “He has been a volunteer for so many years and has continued this through difficult periods such as Covid and the impact of the cost of living.

He also encourages and works with many young people and helps them to volunteer and upskill.

Shummel said: "I am very grateful, honoured and a little shocked to be shortlisted through to the finals. I’d like to acknowledge and congratulate all the other volunteers out there who equally are doing great work.”

Emma Harrison

Emma Harrison runs an SEN support group for parents and a stroke survivors group. She also jointly runs a craft group and she organises bingo and other events for an older people’s lunch club.

Her nominator said: “She goes above and beyond, she is dedicated and very hardworking and does more than what is asked for her to do, she is selfless, she is warm and welcoming and makes people feel at ease.”

The 2023 Community Stars Awards, feature ten categories in total: The Good Neighbour of the Year, sponsored by Incommunities; The Outstanding Contribution to Earliest Years of Life Award, sponsored by Better Start Bradford; Shared Values in Action Award, sponsored by Bradford For Everyone; Voluntary and Community Group (Larger Charities / Social Enterprises); Voluntary and Community Group (Small organisation – less than two full time or equivalent staff); Volunteer of the Year; Young Active Citizens (age 8-16); Young Active Citizens (age 17-25); Business Making a Difference, sponsored by Participate Projects; and Fundraiser of the Year.

Now that the finalists have been chosen a survey will open for public votes to decide the winners.

These will be announced at the awards night on Wednesday, December 6.

Voting will end at midnight on Tuesday, November 21.