Local heroes have been celebrated at this year’s Tees Valley BME Achievement Awards, with Imran Ayoub of De Melo winning Businessperson of the Year and Boro Cars receiving the Business of the Year gong.
The Awards – now in their ninth year – are a celebration of the area’s 43,000-strong BME community makes an invaluable contribution to the economy and vibrant social mix of the whole region.
It’s a chance to say thank you to the individuals, organisations and businesses that make a positive contribution to equality of opportunity, advance race relations and promote community harmony.
The 2017 Awards event took place at Middlesbrough’s Jury’s Inn Hotel on Friday (February 17), chaired once again by former Chief Crown Prosecutor Nazir Afzal.
More than 300 guests, including community members and service providers, gather to hear tributes to the winners, ranging from inspiring personal achievements to collective success for organisations.
Local people put forward the names of individuals and groups who they felt had made the biggest contribution over the last year, in a wide range of categories including Youth, Community, Business, Public Sector and Education and a new Private Sector category.
Presentations were also made to a Diversity Champion and Woman of the Year, while a Lifetime Achievement Award will recognise sustained commitment to and support for BME communities.
Zoe Lewis, Principal and Chief Executive of sponsors Middlesbrough College, said: “The BME awards are one of the highlights of the year, and a celebration of equality and diversity which is something Middlesbrough College is firmly committed to.
“It is a great opportunity to recognise some of the amazing people who year in, year out devote so much time and energy to helping make our communities better places for everyone.”
BME Network Partnership Manager Idrees Rashid said: “The awards go from strength to strength, and once again we’ve put the individual and collective achievements of the diverse communities that make up the vibrant Tees Valley firmly in the spotlight.
“Their skills, talent and commitment play a vital role in ensuring this area thrives and prospers, while at the same time inspiring and promoting community cohesion.
“Their tireless efforts make a real difference, and every one of these awards is richly deserved.”