Newham Council celebrated "great contributions" made by members of the public in the borough at its first-ever civic awards.

The winners of Newham Civic Awards received their prizes at the Old Town Hall in Stratford on Wednesday (December 7).

Three people received the Freedom of the Borough awards, one was awarded the Alderperson award and five civic awards were given out.

Civic Awards

A total of 14 organisations and community groups were awarded the Health Equity 50 Steps Award, named after the council's health and wellbeing strategy.

Newham Recorder: A total of 14 organisations won the Healthy Equity 50 Steps AwardA total of 14 organisations won the Healthy Equity 50 Steps Award (Image: Andrew Baker)

The groups were commended for hosting vaccination sessions at their premises throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since February 2021, the groups helped deliver more than 10,250 vaccinations at more than 440 pop-up clinics.

The groups were Bonny Downs/NewWay, Ramgarhia Community Centre, Sri Murugan Temple, RCCG Stratford, Keir Hardie Church, East London Rugby Club, UKIM, Manor Park Islamic Cultural Centre, Minhaj Ul Quran, Shirdi Sai Baba Temple, Anchor House, UEL, Newham College and Sheringham School.

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Manor Park Islamic Cultural Centre assistant secretary and trustee Iqbal Hussain said his organisation volunteered their premises during the pandemic "to get the community involved and utilise the space".

He said: "It's not just for one particular faith group, it's for the whole community. 

"Different religions, different races - it doesn't really matter and we wanted to have one centre where everyone can come down and utilise the space."

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The Good Neighbour Award went to Violet White, the co-chair of the Newham Older People's Reference Group, which advocates for older people's rights and voices.

The Stronger and United Together Award acknowledges voluntary, faith and community groups which have brought together cultures through local activities and projects.

Newham Recorder: A total of five members of Born Everywhere: Made in Newham collected their awardA total of five members of Born Everywhere: Made in Newham collected their award (Image: Andrew Baker)

It went to Born Everywhere: Made in Newham, a community organisation with over 300 members that identifies neglected public spaces and seeks to find affordable solutions to make a greener and more cohesive environment.

It's chair Ann-Marie Ashton said the group, most of whom live in East Ham, was "over the moon". 

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She added: "I think for us it's important because we feel like East Ham's a little bit forgotten in Newham.

"You've got the glitz of Stratford and the docks. Canning Town's had millions of pounds spent on it and East Ham is the bit in the middle that's been left behind.

"We really wanted to invoke a sense of pride in being from Newham because Newham is the butt of many a joke...

"Rather than Newham being a place that everyone's trying to escape from, we're proud to be from here and we want to work to make it better.

"We're not being naive and pretending there aren't problems - because we know there are - but we want to acknowledge them and try to solve a few of those things that we think are solveable and have a bit of fun doing so."

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The Create and Thrive Award recognised a person, group or organisation making an outstanding contribution to arts, culture or sport in the borough. 

It went to Paul Archer, who runs the Newham Ability Camp, which aims to give children and young adults with disabilities access to sports.

Newham Recorder: Paul Archer also hosts one-to-one sports sessions for children with learning difficultiesPaul Archer also hosts one-to-one sports sessions for children with learning difficulties (Image: Andrew Baker)

Founder of the Newham Poetry Group and the Rosetta Arts organisation Sonia Quintero was also commended.

Haris Kiani, 23, won the Youth Excellence Award for his work with organisations, community leaders and local government, mainly at the Greater London level.

Newham Recorder: Haris Kiani took home the Youth Excellence AwardHaris Kiani took home the Youth Excellence Award (Image: Andrew Baker)

Haris also started a Pakistan-based micro-finance fund for women from vulnerable communities when he was 16.

He said: "As cliched as it sounds, young people are the future.

"Nurturing young people, giving them whatever guidance you can give them and helping them become the role models for the communities is really important because they'll be the stepping stone to the next generation."

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Cllr Mariam Dawood, winner of the Young Councillor of the Year award this year, added: "Having a youth award spotlights the excellent work that our young people do to encourage other young people to engage in community projects, to fulfill their potential and to achieve what they want to achieve."

Alderperson Award

Patricia Holland, a former councillor for Custom House, took home the Alderperson Award.

Newham Recorder: Patricia Holland is one of the longest serving ex-councillors in the boroughPatricia Holland is one of the longest serving ex-councillors in the borough (Image: Andrew Baker)

Freedom of the Borough

Freedom of the Borough awards were given to representative deputy lieutenant for the London Borough of Newham John Barber, headteacher of Maryland Primary School Lorna Jackson and founder of Richard House Children's Hospice Anthea Hare.

Newham Recorder: John Barber DL, MRICS has held his role since 2012 and is shortly retiringJohn Barber DL, MRICS has held his role since 2012 and is shortly retiring (Image: Andrew Baker)

The award is an expression of the highest esteem in which the recipients are held by the council and people of the borough.

Daniell Hambrook and Abdul Wadood Khan were also commended by the awards panel in this category.

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said: "It's important to have civic awards that recognise the great contributions that Newham residents make day in day out, especially during a period where the coutnry and our borough's gone through such a difficult time, first with Covid-19 and now with the cost of living crisis.

"To be able to come together to demonstrate the talent that exists, the commitment and the love that is around us is an amazing thing.

"I'm really looking forward to next year's event and I'm hoping that everyone will shout about it and encourage as many nominations to come forward when we launch the campaign."