A Coventry man – who has driven provision for young people in the city over many years – says he will use his newly awarded MBE to continue to champion the city’s communities and ensure their voices are heard.
Rashid Bhayat was recognised for his services to young people in Coventry and the wider Midlands in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
He is founder and CEO of the Positive Youth Foundation, which received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) for 2018, and works with a range of young people, including those who find themselves in challenging circumstances.
Rashid said: “It means a lot to us as an organisation to receive this title and the Positive Youth Foundation will use it to continue to work on behalf of young people both locally and nationally.
“By accepting this honour it will give us opportunities to influence policy makers and provide a platform to challenge and shape national policy.
“We are committed to ensuring that young people from all communities will have their voices heard, and to open new avenues for them. This title will enable us to continue that campaign.
“We will make the most of the opportunities created and windows opened from receiving an MBE and continue to challenge policies that affect young people in this country.
“I am adamant that this award is not about me personally and we have to strive to make sure that young people from all backgrounds feel they have an equal chance to achieve great things.
“If this award is another way of achieving that and giving young people from all of our communities the belief that change can happen, then that’s great.
“But those of us who carry these titles – all of us – have to make sure we are all working to ensure that the voices of society’s most vulnerable people are heard across a range of issues and that they are taken very seriously.”
PYF is a non-profit organisation and has supported more than 3,000 young people across the city in the past year alone. It is also an Honorary Partner to Coventry UK City of Culture 2021.