Residents were recognised for the valuable commitment they make to society at the inaugural LGBT+ Heroes awards ceremony.
Throughout the summer, dozens of Hero nominations were submitted by family members, friends, elected members, work colleagues and community leaders to showcase the contribution that their Heroes make in the borough.
When introducing the winners, the mayor read out excerpts from their nominations.
Jordan Barker and Liam Harney won awards for the Under 25s category.
Jordan Barker was praised for the work he had done 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. His creativity and academic success in fashion was also praised.
Liam Harney is a PhD student reading Geography at Queen Mary University. He was recognised for the research project he had undertaken to address housing issues, including high rents, overcrowding, damp and the affordability of new builds in Tower Hamlets. He was also praised for his support to local people, helping them into well paid jobs.
Jack Gilbert, David Pollard and Kofi Ageymang won awards for an outstanding contribution to LGBT+ culture an community.
Jack Gilbert was praised for the vision, energy and unswerving commitment he has demonstrated in helping vulnerable and disadvantaged people to get back on their feet over the past five years. He was also recognised for the work he has done to develop Rainbow Hamlets in the borough, as a key LGBT+ support charity.
David Pollard was nominated in recognition of his work as landlord of the Joiners Arms on Hackney Road, which was the first pub in the UK to pay the national Living Wage to staff and was part of a national scheme to improve the safety of his customers.
Kofi Ageymang was recognised for his tireless work in confronting and challenging homophobia in BME communities; for flying the flag of tolerance and for promoting the seeds of understanding. Kofi’s mission is to create a society where “each and every one of us is free to walk, bop or sashay down any of our streets, in the fullness of all our glory, without fear, ridicule or ostracisation.”
Jennifer Fear, Hardev Malhi and Andrew Burke won awards for being exceptional role models.
Jennifer’s nominations particularly recognised her work as CEO of Step Forward, an organisation which has helped thousands of local young people to overcome personal, social and health problems via counselling, advice, training, personal development, and sexual health services. She was described as an inspiring leader who remained grounded and approachable to all young people.
Hardev Malhi was nominated for the exceptional quality of the equalities and diversity work he has delivered at Barts Hospital in his role as Inclusion Officer.
Hardev was particularly praised for helping the hospital to reduce health inequality in the area and for finding ways to support LGBT+ colleagues across the hospital.
Andrew Burke was nominated the humour and passion he uses to positively influence people’s opinions about all nine of the protected equalities characteristics in his training job at the council. His training materials have helped dozens of people to tackle LGBT+ issues.
PC Lee Hawkins and Dan Leverick won awards for exceptional work (paid or otherwise) to LGBT culture & community.
PC Lee Hawkins was nominated for the excellent work he has done to prevent hate crime in the borough, and for sending out a clear and strong message that it is unacceptable in any form. Local agencies said that their service users were treated with sensitivity and understanding, and praised him for being kind and thoughtful.
Dan Leverick won an award for work he has done in mobilising and empowering the LGBT+ community to form the ‘Friends of the Joiners Arms’. Dan was recognised for shaping the vision of the Friends group, his strength in challenging social inequalities and for protecting the livelihood and wellbeing of LGBT+ people by defending London’s queer venues.