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A volunteer who has dedicated his life to tackling knife crime and a teenager committed to reducing violence against girls, have won Outstanding Citizen Awards.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, presented Syed Muhammad Faisal Sami and Mohammed Al-Hasan with awards at a ceremony on June 10.

The 11th annual Outstanding Citizen Awards shine a light on some of the region’s unsung heroes, who make a difference in the community.

Winner of the Outstanding Citizen category, Mr Sami, stood out for the impact he has made not just in the West Midlands, but nationally and globally.

As a volunteer of Dawat-E-Islami UK for the last 17 years, Mr Sami has spearheaded campaigns to tackle a range of issues including knife crime, drugs, speeding, gang culture, county lines, fly-tipping, theft and nitrous oxide.

He is recognised as a true community champion and has inspired and supported thousands of people to bring a positive change in their lives.

Another nominee to stand out was Outstanding Young Citizen, Mohammed Al-Hassan.

The 18-year-old chair of the SHAPE Youth Forum (Sandwell) has campaigned tirelessly to reduce harassment and violence, towards young women and girls.

He said: “I am sincerely grateful to receive the Outstanding Young Citizen Award. It is an immense honour to be recognised for my efforts in making a positive impact within my community. This award serves as a reminder that age should never limit our ability to effect change.

“This recognition fuels my determination to continue striving for excellence and inspiring others to join me on this journey. Together, let us empower the next generation of young citizens to shape a brighter future for all.”

As well as individual awards, two projects were recognised for their contribution to young people.

The PCC was impressed by the Bright Future Association and the dedication of founder Nassim Saif, to support around 150 children every year, through football.

Mr Saif and his team of coaches deliver FA affiliated, high quality, minimal cost, football training to the children of Sparkbrook and Balsall Heath.

He said: “We make a difference week in, week out, in some of the most deprived areas of the West Midlands. We’re a team with real passion.

“By engaging young people in positive activities and keeping them busy, it is also helping the community, police, city council and businesses.

“We are over the moon and shocked to get this award. It really is an honour. The future is bright.”

Strongly rooted in the local community, Meriden Adventure Playground was recognised for its positive engagement with young people. Their highly-skilled team have a wealth of experience and knowledge to support families and create community resilience.

General manager Zoe Hill said: “Any recognition of the work we do at MAPA is appreciated and shared by our whole team, our volunteers, our parents and families and supporters. Meriden Adventure Playground exists, because of the work of a dedicated team of people who have built a truly fabulous place for our local communities and specialist groups.”

The 2023 winners are:

Syed Muhammad Faisal Sami – Outstanding Citizen

Mohammed Al-Hasan – Outstanding Young Citizen

Meriden Adventure Playground – Outstanding Community Project

The Bright Future Association – Outstanding Young Community Project

Mr Foster said: “I am delighted to recognise the contribution of these unsung heroes and the significant difference they make to the prevention of crime, community safety, policing and the wider community.

“Congratulations to all the nominees and winners, who dedicate their lives to making the West Midlands a safer place to live, work and visit. I am forever grateful for your commitment and service to your communities.”

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