The search is on for local heroes in BME Awards

Nominations are being sought for local heroes from across the Tees Valley’s black and minority ethnic communities.

The Tees Valley BME Achievement Awards – now in their 11th year – will once again recognise the wealth of achievement and talent across the area.

The judges are urging local people to put forward the names of individuals and groups who have made the biggest contribution over the last year.

The 2019 Tees Valley BME Achievement Awards – supported by awards partner Tees Valley Combined Authority – culminate in a glittering ceremony and dinner at Middlesbrough’s Jurys Inn hotel on Friday, September 20.

The event will be hosted by former Chief Crown Prosecutor Nazir Afzal, with keynote speeches from leading local figures, and special guests to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Guests will enjoy a delicious Indian dinner and the presentation of the awards in categories ranging from Youth, Community and Business to Housing, Public Sector and Education.

A new category for 2019 – the Apprenticeship Award – will be presented to both an individual and provider who have demonstrated equality of opportunity.

Other presentations will also be made to a Diversity Champion, Woman of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement Award, which will recognise sustained commitment to and support for BME communities.

Zoe Lewis, principal and chief executive of sponsors Middlesbrough College, said: “For me personally this is one of the highlights of the year.

“The BME awards celebrate equality and diversity and that is something Middlesbrough College is firmly committed to.

“This event gives us an opportunity to recognise some of the amazing people who devote time and energy to help make our communities better places for everyone.”

Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen said: “The BME Achievement Awards are an important annual opportunity to put the spotlight on some truly inspirational achievements.

“Our BME communities have a great track record of encouraging entrepreneurial spirit and recognising and celebrating business success, delivering jobs and driving economic growth across the Tees Valley.”

Nazir Afzal OBE added: “Year in, year out they contribute their skills, talent and commitment to making this area thrive and prosper, while inspiring and promoting community cohesion.

“Once again we will be recognising the remarkable contributions made by many individuals and organisations across a range of sectors – and we’re keen to hear from local people who they would like to see pick up the awards.

“It’s an important opportunity to pay tribute to the tireless work of an array of talented and committed individuals – some well-known, some unsung – whose efforts make a real difference.”

• Nominations for this year’s Achievement Awards close on Friday, September 6.

For more information or to make a nomination, visit or email


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