Tower Hamlets LGBT+ Heroes awards winners revealed

Pic: LGBT+ Heroes awards winners Credit: Tower Hamlets Council

Pic: LGBT+ Heroes awards winners. Credit: Rehan Jamil

Joiners Arms landlord David Pollard, Rainbow Hamlets chief executive Jack Gilbert and Barts Hospital inclusion officer Hardev Malhi have been named among the winners at the first ever Tower Hamlets LGBT+ Heroes awards.

The celebration on Monday evening saw Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs presenting awards to key figures in the community in recognition of their contribution to the lives of others over the years.

Winners were named in each of the four categories –accomplishment by young person under 25, outstanding contribution to LGBT culture and community, being an exceptional role model and exceptional work paid or otherwise to the LGBT culture and community – after dozens of nominations were received from family and friends, work colleagues and community leaders.

“The nominations showcase the commitment, support and important equalities work that is being done tirelessly across the borough,” Biggs said.

Pollard was named a winner in the outstanding contribution to LGBT culture and community category for his work as landlord of the now closed iconic lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual pub on Hackney Road.

It was the first pub in the UK to pay the national Living Wage to its staff and Pollard was part of a national scheme to improve the safety of his customers.

Joining him as winners in the category were Gilbert, who was praised for helping vulnerable and disadvantaged people and for his work to develop LGBT+ support charity Rainbow Hamlets, and Kofi Ageymang, who was recognised for his efforts in confronting and challenging homophobia in black and minority ethnic communities.

Malhi won an award for being an exceptional role model after helping Barts hospital to reduce health inequality in the area and for finding ways to support his LGBT+ colleagues.

Jennifer Fear, who is chief executive of Step Forward which has helped thousands of local young people to overcome personal, social and health problems through counselling, personal development and sexual health services, and Tower Hamlets Council trainer Andrew Burke, who has produced materials that have helped dozens of people to tackle LGBT+ issues, complete the winners in the category.

Awards in the exceptional work for the LGBT culture and community class went to Dan Leverick for his work to defend London’s queer venues as a key player of the “Friends of the Joiners Arms” group and Salma K, who was praised for her work with the most vulnerable victims of LGBT+ hate crime as an independent domestic violence advocate.

Police Constable Lee Hawkins was also named a winner in the category for his work to prevent hate crime in the borough and for sending out a strong message that it is unacceptable in any form.

Rounding off the award winners were Jordan Barker and Liam Harney in the under 25s category.

Barker was recognised for his work to prevent the bullying of LGBT+ young people, which included the creation of a play to reassure other young people that they are not alone in the challenges that they face due to their sexuality, while Queen Mary University geography PhD student Harney was awarded for his research project that addressed housing issues in Tower Hamlets.

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