Leeds community stalwart Hanif Malik steps into new role as ambassador for the Children's Heart Surgery Fund

A Leeds community stalwart has pledged to focus on diversity and inclusion in his new role as ambassador for the city’s Children’s Heart Surgery Fund.

Monday, 23rd August 2021, 4:45 am

Hanif Malik, a long-time supporter and former trustee of the charity, has spoken of his pride at being appointed an ambassador and how he hopes to continue raising awareness of the charity’s “fantastic work”, supporting patients and families at Leeds Children’s Hospital’s congenital heart unit.

He said: “I’ve been fortunate to see at first hand the difference the work makes to the children and families at what is a very difficult time for them and how they would struggle without this intervention.

“But what has really kept me involved is the scale of dedication and commitment the charity has to its beneficiaries where at times it becomes an extended member of the family.

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Hanif Malik OBE, ambassador for the Children's Heart Surgery Fund in Leeds. Picture: Tony Johnson

“There are lots of great charities doing incredible work out there but for me, CHSF is right up there with the very best of them.”

Hanif was awarded an OBE in 2016 for his services to the community which included his work as founder and former chief executive of the Hamara Healthy Living Centre in Beeston.

During his time there, it grew from an office with two staff members into the largest ethnic minority organisation in the voluntary and community sector in Leeds.

And his appointment as an ambassador at CHSF will have a particular emphasis on diversity and inclusion, he says.

He said: “I would like to continue raising awareness of the fantastic work it carries out across the region and in doing so help it to raise the vital funds it needs to support the hundreds of people who benefit from its work - in particular amongst some of the communities which we have traditionally not accessed such as the south Asian and other ethnic minority communities.

“I would also hope to encourage other people to come on board from these communities and see how their skillset and experience can make a difference to people’s lives.”

The CHSF has supported the congenital heart unit for over 30 years, since its formation in 1988.

It helps fund vital equipment for the unit as well as supporting patients and their families, from providing nearby accommodation to holistic and wellbeing supprot.

Last year, the Yorkshire Evening Post launched a Have a Heart campaign to help the Children's Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF) reach its £1m target for donations.

Shortly after the coronavirus pandemic hit, CHSF was forced to issue an urgent plea for donations after losing a "significant portion" of its yearly income.

To donate to the charity, visit https://www.chsf.org.uk/donate/

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