Charity leaders recognised in Queen’s Birthday honours

A raft of charity leaders have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours list to mark the monarch's platinum jubilee celebrations over the weekend.

Among those recognised is Safia Jama, the chief executive and founder of East London based charity Women’s Inclusive Team (WIT).

She set up the charity to improve inclusion in her local area due to the problems her Somali immigrant mother experienced accessing local activities and services.

Jama, says her award of an MBE “show’s that WIT’s work to support the Black community is necessary”.

“As a Somali woman from Tower Hamlets, I’m no stranger to discrimination or racism,” she added.

“Sadly, most people of colour share this reality. However, there is another added layer to the struggle faced by our Somali community. We are a minority within a minority in the borough, and our needs over the years have been downgraded and overlooked by the people who hold power, the changemakers.

“This is where the strengths of the Women’s Inclusive Team lie, and why I believe this MBE is for the entire organisation, not only me.”



Among charity leader recipients of an OBE is Spirit of 2021 chair Jane Gibson. She has served on the board of the charity, which was set up as a legacy charity following the London 2012 Olympics, for the last three years.

“Jane’s contribution to Spirit of 2012 has been outstanding,” said the charity’s chief executive Ruth Hollis.

“As chair, she has steered Spirit’s strategy to use the inspiration of events to leave happier people and happier places, resulting in programmes which have successfully engaged more than 5m participants and 45,000 volunteers across the UK in arts, sport and community volunteering.”

Meanwhile, Arts Council England chief executive Darren Henley has been awarded an OBE for services to the arts.

Among former charity leaders to be recognised is Aisling Burnand, who was chief executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC).

Burnand, who has been handed an MBE for services to the charitable sector, stepped down from her role leading the AMRC in 2021 after being diagnosed with late-stage bowel cancer.

“I am truly humbled. Have sobbed tears of joy when I got the letter,” she said.



According to the Cabinet Office of the 1,134 people to receive an award, almost one in six (59%) have been recognised for their “outstanding work in their communities either in a voluntary or paid capacity.

Fundraisers honoured

Among fundraisers honoured, with a BEM , is 80-year-old Patricia Husselbee who has collected for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal since she was 15.

Also receiving BEMs are 11-year-old twins Elena and Roben Evans-Guillen, who raised almost £50,000 for the NHS and NHS charities amid the Covid pandemic. They are the youngest recipients of this latest round of awards.

Another young recipient is 22-year-old Alex Griffiths who has received a BEM for supporting carers, having been a young carer himself since the age of 5.

“This historic Platinum Jubilee is not only a celebration of the monarch but of the qualities she possesses,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“The honours she confers this week reflect many of those qualities that have been invaluable from all different walks of life and to communities across the UK.

“I pay tribute to all of this year’s winners. Their stories of courage and compassion are an inspiration to us all.”

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