The owner of a Leicester-based community benefit company has been named a joint national winner of the O2 Everyday Heroes Awards.
Yasin El Ashrafi, Founder and CEO of HQ Community Art Network, has been recognized for his work supporting young musicians and creatives in the local community over the past year.
It was selected by an O2 jury, in partnership with internationally renowned interior designer and entrepreneur, Kelly Hoppen CBE.
Read more about Leicestershire news here
Yasin, alongside national winner Emma Rigby of Enfield-based Love Your Doorstep, who has set up a delivery service to help community members access food and medicine during the pandemic, received a £ 5,000 cash prize.
According to O2, the award recognizes Yasin’s work during the lockdown, which saw him adapt his services to make them more accessible, creating portable studios that he led to isolated, high-risk, rural members of his community. , while also making education available online. as in person.
Yasin has shown his commitment to helping support young musicians and creatives, offering internships to 14 people who have lost their jobs due to covid.
On top of that, Yasin has expanded the mentoring services provided by HQ CAN to reach more people in need, while continuing to build a real network and creative community in the region.
Kelly Hoppen CBE said: “It was a real joy to hear the stories of these amazing business leaders who are so determined to support the community around them. The fact that there are two joint winners shows how difficult it was to judge the superb nominations from the finalists! Yasin could not be more worthy of this honor.
“He has helped keep the arts accessible to young people in the Midlands. His company brought so many people together and helped provide a space for creatives at a time when this industry was somewhat neglected.
Asked about the price, Yasin said: It’s been a tough year for everyone on the team as we conquered tech, lockdown and logout. The technology has proven invaluable in ensuring that we are able to continue to provide quality support and care to the most disconnected in our community and earning the £ 5,000 means we are now able to get even more. equipment to keep our young creatives doing what they love. ”
Jo Bertram, General Manager of Business and Wholesale at Virgin Media O2 and Judge, said: “Hear from all small businesses and learn the level of support and joy they have brought to their communities over the past year. he last year has been truly inspiring.
“Small business leaders really are the backbone of local communities across the country. So it’s heartwarming to hear about their determination and motivation to continue serving their local customers. Emma and Yasin are examples of people who have gone above and beyond the call of duty, using technology to ensure they provide the best level of support. They show how the sense of community has truly been a lifeline for many of us.
“O2 has always helped provide small businesses with the technology and digital expertise to help them adapt and adapt, improve connectivity and strengthen security, and this is more important than ever as we continue to adapt to life during the continuing pandemic. We are incredibly excited to crown the overall winners and give them a helping hand to continue to do their great job. “