Inspiring Business by Sharing Success



The ‘real world heroes of the Pandemic’ were acknowledged and celebrated recently at the annual VAL Awards 2022.

The glittering awards, which were created by the voluntary and charity hub, Voluntary Action LeicesterShire – and whose headline sponsor was Morningside Pharmaceuticals – took place on the 16th September, celebrating the inspiring individuals and organisations of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland that have gone above and beyond in their support of others during and since the pandemic.


/A packed house: over 220 guests attended to celebrate the sector. Image by Saul Morgan./

Earlier this summer, the public were invited to nominate their ‘real life heroes’ – the people and organisations at the sharp end of community service and care in our county. Hundreds of nominations were submitted before a panel of judges had the onerous task of shortlisting and then choosing the category winners.

Kevin Allen-Khimani, Executive Manager – Public Sector Contracts and Projects at VAL, commented:/“It was fantastic to see the calibre and number of nominations for the 2022 VAL Awards. The past two years has seen unprecedented pressure and stresses on our charity and voluntary sector here in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, so tonight has been a wonderful opportunity to come together again and celebrate their achievements and hard work.” /

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE DL of Morningside Pharmaceuticals added: /“Having a vibrant and inspirational charity and voluntary sector in our city and county is an essential component of a successful society – and precisely why Morningside Pharmaceuticals is proud to support./

/“Tonight has been an incredible opportunity to allow us to, collectively, take a moment to reflect and recognise the inspiring people and organisations that work diligently behind the scenes to support our community.”/

Chief Executive of VAL, Kevan Liles MBE – who attended HM Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral over the weekend – opened the event, welcoming guests before respectfully leading a minute silence in honour of our late Monarch, HM Queen Elizabeth II. He then passed over to comperes, Kevin Allen-Khimani, Executive Manager – Public Sector Contracts and Projects at VAL, and broadcast journalist, Rupal Rajani who announced the winners of each category – including the posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award, which was accepted to a standing ovation by the two daughters of Kathryn Burgess of CALS, who tragically died recently.

The sell-out event attracted over 220 guests and took place on September 16^th in the stunning Grand Hall at Leicester’s The Mercure Grand Hotel. The awards were made possible by the generous support of local businesses, including headline sponsor, Morningside Pharmaceuticals, alongside BHIB, Hastings Direct, East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, Mortgage Advice Bureau, Everything Global, Paragon Sales Solutions and Fraser Urquhart Media. Monies raised allowed the event to run without charge to finalists and their guests.

Winners are:

City Charity of the Year: Sponsored by Gigabit Networks


Eyres Monsell Club for Young People

County Charity of the Year: Sponsored by Hastings Direct


Hope Against Cancer

Rutland Charity of the Year: Sponsored by Fraser Urquhart Media


Rutland Clothing Bank

Social Enterprise of the Year: Sponsored by Everything Branded


Action Trust – Action Homeless

Volunteer-Led Organisation of the Year: Sponsored by BHIB Insurance Brokers


We Care UK

Trustee of the Year: Sponsored by Paragon Sales Solutions


Ian Knight – Menphys

Volunteer of the Year: Sponsored by Johnson Astills Solicitors


Praful Thakrar – Shreeji Dham Haveli

Inspiring Leader of the Year: Sponsored by Mortgage Advice Bureau


Dr Iris Lightfoote – The Race Equality Centre

Lifetime Achievement Award: Sponsored by Voluntary Action LeicesterShire

Joint Winner - posthumous:

Kathryn Burgess - CALS (Community Advice and Law Service)

Joint Winner:

Priya Thamotheram - Highfield Centre.

Charity of the Year: Sponsored by Morningside Pharmaceuticals


Eyres Monsell Club for Young People

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