One Voice Annual Dinner 2020 Winners


Community workers and volunteers were among those honoured at the 1V Community Champion Awards.

The eighth One Voice Annual Dinner which included the 1V Community Champion Awards and the Leader’s Award took place on Saturday.

The awards, in their eighth year, celebrated the very best of community people and groups in Blackburn and Darwen. Awards included Young Person, Institute, Man and Woman of the Year.

Organised by One Voice the annual dinner was hosted by 15-year-old Pleckgate High School student, Sifa Turi.

Sifa Turi is a Pleckgate High School student

The Annual Dinner was held at the Windsor Suite at King George’s Hall in Blackburn and was arranged by One Voice youth leadership group 2020 Vision.

The event featured key-note speeches delivered by Michelle Park, board member of Together Housing and Dr Fazal Dad, Principal of Blackburn College, as well as presentations from the many groups run by One Voice Blackburn.

These included a stunning performance from WEGS music group, ‘Banned’, and the 1V Scouts Choir.

Also speaking on the night was One Voice alumni member, Adnan Raja.

The Annual Dinner was sponsored by Together Housing, Blackburn College and the Arts Council, and supported by HPA Solicitors, Our Community Our Future, Our Lancashire, and Humraaz.

A Member’s only event was held on Friday celebrating achievements within One Voice and included the 1V Internal Awards.

The 1V Community Champion Awards featured the Mohammed Khan Leadership Award which was presented to 12 year old Blackburn student Sara Hussain who wrote a speech when comforting a friend who was caught up in the Manchester Arena bombing. Sara talked about inventing a time machine so she could persuade Salman Abedi not to carry out the mass murders as fans left the Ariana Grande concert nearly three years ago.

Her speech, If I Could Change the World, won top prize in a schools’ public speaking competition and has been widely shared on social media.

Sara Hussain with her Leader’s Award, sponsored by Our Community Our Future

Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of the Council, said,

“Sara touched so many people with her passionate speech that spread a message of hope and love. She is a credit to her family and to her teachers, and I’m sure they’re very proud of her – as we are.

“She’s a remarkable young lady and thoroughly deserves this award for her role in encouraging cohesion and helping people to understand one another better.”

The Youth of the Year award, sponsored by Blackburn College, was won by Umaimah Jalgaonkar, who said, “I just want to say a big thank you to all the organisations who have nominated me for my award especially IMO who have inspired me to be a future leader of tomorrow.”

Umaimah Jalgaonkar won the 1V Young Person of the Year 2020 award

The Institute of the Year was won by Uniting Communities Organisation, sponsored by Our Lancashire.  On accepting the award, they said,
“Thank you to everyone who supported us. We are only a small organisation who have some very ardent volunteers. There are a number of small community groups who we do support, and we are very grateful to receive this award.”

United Community Organsation won the 1V Institute of the Year 2020 award

Sam Ali who was awarded Man of the Year, sponsored by HPA Solicitors, expressed his surprise and delight at winning the award. “I didn’t expect to win. I want to congratulate all the nominees today. I would like to dedicate this award to people who were told no.”

The 1V Man of the Year 2020 title went ot Sam Ali

The Woman of the Year award, sponsored by Together Housing, went to Wilma Burton who said, “I would just like to thank everyone and One Voice Blackburn for this award.”

Wilma Burton won the much coveted 1V Woman of the Year 2020 award

The awards culminated in the John Roberts Outstanding Achievement Award which was presented to Saima Ashraf, Senior Auditor at Merseyside Police who is the only registered blind auditor in the UK.

Saima thanked the efforts of her family as she accepted the award.

“I want to thank my parents who believed in me and supported me every step of the way. I am so grateful that thanks to them I am here today. I would like to thank Blackburn College who helped me broaden my horizons. I went as an 18 year old to Lancaster University who supported me all the way and into my employment as well. I want to thank my sister who has been working as my PA for twelve years. Without my sister I would not be who I am today.”

Maira Butt from Humraaz handing the Outstansting Achievement Award 2020 to Saima Ashraf

One Voice Chairman Abrar Hussain said, “The Annual Dinner, once again was a wonderful celebration of the incredible work done in the community by so many inspiring people.

“It is these tireless volunteers that make our community stronger and more united.

“We would like to congratulate the winners and all of the nominees in the 1V Community Champion Awards.”