East End food bank and community champion receives The British Citizen Award


Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, 27 extraordinary people from across the UK are being recognised with the coveted British Citizen Award. One of them is Rofikul Islam from London. Due to the current lockdown, the usual grand medal presentation ceremony at The Palace of Westminster is unable to take place. For only the second time in its history, Rofikul and the remaining 26 medalists received their BCA medals by courier, together with video messages of congratulations together with an invitation to the House of Lords at a date yet to be determined, when it is safe to do so.

The British Citizen Award (BCA), in association with One-Stop, is now in its sixth year and recognises exceptional people who positively impact their communities. Rofikul Islam is honoured with a BCAc for Services to the Community.

For over 15 years Rofikul has devoted his time to several community projects, locally and around the world. He has been a mentor supporting young people involved in gang violence and those at risk of becoming involved in gangs. Rofikul volunteered connecting young people with positive role models who provide advice, guidance, practical assistance and emotional support.

He was an Ambassador to a youth exchange programme offering ethical overseas volunteering placements for those who would otherwise not have such opportunities. He then went to Bangladesh to work with young people to overcome communication barriers. Back home, Rofikul and his friends were amongst the first few community groups to respond at 2am on the night of the Grenfell Tower disaster.
RRofikul is currently volunteering at an East London Soup Kitchen, helping the homeless, elderly, lonely and poor in the surrounding areas. They provide free hot meals, clothes, toiletries and some space to provide a sense of belonging for those in the community. During the last eight months, Rofikul established a COVID-19 Support Network which sets up food banks in Tower Hamlets, Newham, Barking and Dagenham, providing strategic advice and guidance to Food Bank start-ups and provides food packs to more than 6,000 households across East London.

Jonny McQuarrie, Managing Director from BCA partner One Stop said: “Each time a new group of medalists are selected it reminds us of how great the people of this nation are. We serve many communities up and down the country through the One Stop convenience stores, and these particular individuals being recognised now, especially at this time of extraordinary circumstance, reflects all that is good about community spirit. It’s a privilege to play a small part in helping them to be recognised. Our congratulations go to all 27 honourees”.

Messages of support were sent via video from TV personalities Michael Underwood, Matt Allwright, pop superstar Kimberly Wyatt of the Pussycat Dolls, and popular comedian, actor and Patron of the BCA Bradley Walsh. Another Patron, Dame Mary Perkins, Founder of Specsavers sent a heartfelt message together with representatives from Experian, Places for People and Objective HR who have all continued to support the BCA throughout the pandemic.

The British Citizen Award was established in 2015, to recognise exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly making a positive impact on society. The BCA recognises true pillars of the community, whose divergent endeavours deserve honouring, but might otherwise likely be overlooked.

Dubbed the People’s Honours, each Medal bears the words ‘For the Good of the Country’ and are presented to only a small number of exceptional individuals twice annually. The British Citizen Award is widely viewed as the nation’s way of recognising extraordinary, everyday people for exceptional endeavor and are truly representative of today’s multicultural Britain.