Rupanjana Dutta Friday 17th May 2019 20:01 EDT

London's Mayor Sadiq Khan joined business owners, Members of Parliament, Peers and prominent personalities on 17th May at the fourth Asian Voice Charity Awards in Hilton Park Lane to recognise and honour small charities as well as celebrate diversity across communities.

The event saluted the role of small charities, seeking to solve the most pressing social issues of our time both in Britain and globally, and those that seek to innovate and strive for excellence. It also reminded the audience of the scourge of knife crime, and rising involvement of gangs from UK's South Asian communities and urged them to help in preventing youngsters from getting entangled into a life of crime.

Speaking about the importance of charity in every faith, Mr Khan added, “Charity occupies a central role in the Asian community. It is ingrained deep in our culture and often expressed in our faith. Whether it's Hindus doing 'sewa', Muslims giving 'zakat' or Sikh Gurdwars practicing 'langar'. Our communities are and always have been passionate about supporting those in need at home and abroad. In fact the amount British Asian donate is an indicative of the huge contributions we make to the vital success of our city. On behalf of all Londoners, I want to say thank you.”

Joking about the upcoming US President Donald Trump's visit, Mr Khan touched upon the serious issue of increasing knife crimes in London and how charities play a big role in tackling these violent crimes. “While I am convinced London is the best city in the world, I am also not blind to the reality of the problems of this city and charities have an important role to play in filling in the gaps in the social safety net in recent years,” he said. “Violent crime is on the rise across the country, including in London. As Mayor, I am determined to lead from the front when it comes to tackling this issue. We are focussing both on arresting the violent offenders as well as addressing the reported of violent crimes. The crucial part of this is bringing together police, health services, charities and the community groups and from preventing people from getting sucked into a life of violent crimes in the first place; giving our young people constructive activities and opportunities to focus on and allow them the most of their talents…"

Paying tribute to Asian Voice he said, “For decades Asian Voice and its esteemed Editor CB Patel have played a vital role, at the heart of the British Asian community, championing issues and concerns to those of Asian heritage, shining a spotlight on the achievements of our brothers and sisters and standing up for our community's interests.”

Former journalist Rupert Morris moderated a discussion by an eminent panel consisting of British businessman and philanthropist Lord Rumi Verjee CBE, BAFTA winner Dr Carrie Grant, founder of The Media Trust- Caroline Diehl MBE and CEO of the Centre for Social Justice- Andy Cook, who shared their motivations for giving and civic engagement. Emphasising on the importance of charity, especially among Asians in Britain, Lord Verjee said, “I am an immigrant in this country. We strive to be successful, and it is natural to give back to the society. In my life what I have realised is the more you give, the more you get back.”

The Asian Voice Charity Awards powered by Charity Clarity are about rewarding charities that think big and solve the most pressing social issues of our time, both in Britain and globally. First of its kind in the Asian circle, especially in Britain, the awards in their fourth year, reward charities that seek to innovate and strive for excellence. The judges panel included Jonathan Townsend, Chief Executive of Prince's Trust International, Abhishek Sachdev of Vedanta Hedging Limited and Subhash Thakrar, Chairman of Charity Clarity. 

This year Charity of the Year award has been won by Paul Strickland Scanner Centre, an independent medical charity working to improve the lives of people affected by cancer and other severe conditions. The Social Impact Award has been won by Child Rescue Nepal, which works on the ground to free children from slavery, removing children from factories, restaurants, hotels and construction sites where they are held captive. The Most Inspiring Young Person Award was given to Leah Chowdhry, the first British Asian woman to swim the English Channel to raise funds to combat child trafficking in India. The Audience Choice Award has been won by The Sarvam Trust that facilitates and supports the work of Sri Aurobindo Society in India to bring development in the lives of the underprivileged in the rural areas. The Editor's Choice Awards was given to Damilola Taylor Trust which provides inner-city youths with opportunities to play, learn and live their lives free of fear and violence, and with optimism for a future where opportunities flourish.

CB PatelPublisher and Editor of Asian Voice, which hosts the event every year said, “As a nation we can take immense pride in the wealth that we generate while also sharing it so generously with our less fortunate brothers and sisters as well as a diverse range of worthy causes. The recently published Sunday Times Rich List gives us some indication of the nations leading wealth generators. 

“I believe that small charities are equally and vitally important for social well-being and cohesion. Whether it is domestic abuse, homelessness, education or mental-health, the impact they make in communities is priceless. One of the ills that now plagues our community is knife crime, and this requires the collective effort of individuals, families, educational institutions and community organisations to put an end to the menace. I am delighted that Mayor Sadiq Khan was able to attend this year's awards ceremony and briefly address this burning issue.”

Pratik Dattani, from Charity Clarity said, "Like earlier years, this year's winners represent the best of humanity. The awards are absolutely unique in that each applicant goes through a rigorous Charity Clarity rating process before the very best are shortlisted for the judges' consideration. It's heartening to see the wonderful work people do every day to build the civic fabric of Britain."

Full list of the 4th Asian Voice Charity Awards 2019 winners

Charity of the Year: Paul Strickland Scanner Centre

Startup of the year: Healing Venezuela

Most Enterprising: Medical Aid Films

Outstanding PR Team: Oscar International

Social Impact Award: Child Rescue Nepal

Audience Choice award: The SarvamTrust

Most inspiring young personLeah Chowdhry

Most inspiring individualAmber Bauer

Editor's Choice Awards: Damilola Taylor Trust

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