Black Health Initiative: Leeds organisation fighting for healthcare equality awarded Queen's Voluntary Award
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Black Health Initiative (BHI) held an event on Friday February 3 to celebrate the achievement, attended by volunteers, a number of councillors and the Lord Mayor of Leeds. The community engagement organisation works with disadvantaged communities to improve access to health and social care.
Heather Nelson, chief executive of BHI, said: “We were shocked. We are a small voluntary organisation, this happens to much bigger organisations. It feels great, we received an award a year ago for National Diversity and that shocked us too.
“It just goes to show that no matter how small you think you are or how insignificant you think you are, people are watching and you are making an impact. Someone had nominated us and it’s anonymous. They must have thought we are making a difference, which is what we are about.”
Heather said the organisation will continue its efforts to reach and include people from various communities, but that its work is only possible with funding. BMI is funded through partnerships in Leeds and beyond, which supports its work locally, regionally and nationally. Heather added: “It is about expanding so we can make reach more people and have a wider impact.”
This May, BHI will attend the formal ceremony in Buckingham Palace to collect the award. The award is not just for BHI, Heather said, but to recognise the community work going on across Leeds. She added: “We are only the second organisation to receive this in Leeds and we are just so pleased.”