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Awards nomination for Arif

Awards nomination for Arif

The founder of a charity which supports homeless people and rough sleepers on the streets of Leicester has been shortlisted for a prestigious award in recognition of his efforts to help the community.


Arif Voraji, who started Help the Homeless Leicester in 2018, has been named as one of four finalists in the Fundraiser category of BBC Radio Leicester’s inaugural Make a Difference Awards.

He’ll learn if he’s won at a special afternoon tea and awards ceremony at Leicester’s Grand Hotel, on 17 September.

Arif and his team help homeless people transform their lives, with the ultimate aim of eradicating rough sleeping in the city. They provide support to homeless people from all walks of life, from rough sleepers and families being evicted from their homes to released prisoners and people with no fixed address.

They work closely with Leicester City Council and other local partners to help get people into accommodation and access the support and services they need to start rebuilding their lives.

The charity also runs a foodbank service. Over the past 12 months, it has helped get more than 220  rough sleepers into suitable accommodation based on their individual needs.

Arif said:

“I am humbled and honoured at being shortlisted for this year’s Make a Difference Awards in Leicester. It’s not why we do what we do, but to be recognised for our efforts in this way is amazing.

“I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this accolade without the hard work and support of my dedicated team and our partner organisations across Leicester and the East Midlands, who support us in so many ways, from donations to sharing their skills and expertise or volunteering.

“For us, it’s all about continuing to do all we can to provide services and support to local homeless people, but we’re looking forward to heading to the Grand Hotel in September to find out if we’ve won.”

The Make a Difference awards is a national initiative delivered by the 39 local BBC radio stations in England. They aim to celebrate people who are going above and beyond to improve the lives of local people and communities. The awards are a chance to show recognition and appreciation for people who love to make life better for others.

Each radio station will hold its own awards ceremony in September. Other categories include awards for great neighbours, inspirational teachers, selfless volunteers and outstanding key workers.

BBC Leicester received around 400 nominations in total across the eight categories, which included some “beautiful words” about Arif’s dedication and effort, which is “obviously highly valued by many”.

Chris Burns, BBC England’s Head of Audio and Digital, said:

“The past two years have been challenging for everyone. Listeners have contacted us to share the stories of how people have helped each other, and we wanted to find a way of celebrating those unsung heroes and telling those amazing stories.”

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