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Queen's Birthday Honours for University pair

Published: Tue 14 Jun 2016

A University of Bradford students' union project leader and a PhD student have both been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Adam Tasker, the Cycling 4 All Project Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator in the students’ union (UBU), and Mohammed Akhlak Rauf, a manager with Bradford Council’s dementia team, both received MBEs.

Adam was honoured for services to higher education and access to sport. He began Cycling 4 All with the support of the University of Bradford students’ union and NUS Green Fund, the first initiative of its kind in a UK university, in 2011 to support a student with cerebral palsy who was unable to join a charity bike ride to Germany. The project is centered on free weekly cycling sessions run in a safe, off-road environment at Lister Park, Bradford. They are open to all disabled students and staff at universities in West Yorkshire, regardless of ability or experience. The project provides a range of adaptive bikes for participants to use such as hand bikes, tricycles, tandems, mountain bikes and electric bikes and has so far engaged with over 600 students.

The project has continued to expand and is now called Choices 4 All. This will build on the community links and volunteering opportunities for students and will result in expanding the inclusive provision for the disabled community of Bradford. Students will be trained to be community leaders and will provide inclusive sports, arts and education training to schools and community groups.

UBU CEO Andrew Fitzpatrick said: “Its great news for Adam. We are really proud that he has been recognised for his dedication and passion to give everybody the  opportunity to get on a bike and enjoy the same experience.”

Mohammed is a part-time PhD student at the University where he is researching the transitions relating to distress amongst South Asian families where there is someone living with dementia. He was honoured for his work as a manager with the Bradford-based Meri Yaadain project. Meri Yaadain - meaning My Memories - is a Social Services (Adult & Community Services) initiative set up ten years ago. It began as a two-year project but the project gained national recognition and became part of mainstream provision by Bradford Council.

The team works to raise awareness of dementia amongst the Black and Minority Ethnic communities as well as informally support similar initiatives in other cities.

He said: “I am truly humbled by this recognition for the work I and my colleagues have been doing over the last 10 years - striving to make a difference.  I thoroughly enjoy working with people with dementia and their families as Meri Yaadain has worked to break down cultural taboos and associated stigma. 

“This led me to wanting to make a difference from an academic perspective too, connecting research with policy and policy to practice. Hence I joined the Dementia Doctoral Training Centre at the University last year to study towards a PhD.

“The work of Meri Yaadain has raised awareness and pushed boundaries, tackling inequalities in accessing information and appropriate services. I hope the PhD will enable me to make a similar impact in supporting South Asian carers of people with dementia."

University honorary graduate Brian Blessed was also honoured for services to the arts and charity, receiving an OBE.

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