Community leader Hanif Malik awarded honorary degree
As Chief Executive of Hamara, community leader Hanif has taken the Centre from humble beginnings in a small office with two part-time staff to the largest ethnic minority organisation in the voluntary and community sector in Leeds, with 30-plus staff.
On receiving his award, Hanif commented: "I am absolutely honoured and privileged to get this award from Leeds Metropolitan University. My advice to students graduating today is to aim high and never let people tell you that you can't achieve your goals because I'd like to think I've proven people wrong over the years. Regardless of your background, if you aim high and you're committed and passionate about what you do, you can get there.
"Leeds Met were involved with the Hamara Centre right from the outset in terms of its development so I think it's not an exaggeration to say that without the input of the University, we may never have had the Hamara Centre. Since assisting with the development, we've undertaken lots of health initiatives together over the years and for me, the collaboration has been really important. For them to come out into communities and assist organisations like Hamara I think speaks volumes about the University as an establishment."
Earlier this year, Hanif and his team delivered a healthy living project working to improve the health and wellbeing of taxi drivers by supporting them to make positive changes to their diet, exercise and lifestyle. The research and evaluation support was provided by Leeds Met.
Hanif, who has a keen interest in sport and enabling individuals and community organisations to be given the opportunity to play more sport, serves on a number of strategic boards at local and regional level including the board of Sport England. He has also represented the voluntary and community sector on the Local Regeneration Partnership Board and the Local Strategic Partnership Board and is a current member of the Safer Stronger Communities Board.
Others receiving honorary degrees from Leeds Metropolitan this week include: mosque leader Qari Asim, who has worked tirelessly to build bridges between communities in Leeds since the 7/7 terror attacks; Managing Director at the helm of the Wakefield-based organisation Group Rhodes, Mark Ridgway OBE, DL, who oversees the group's seven engineering companies; award-winning artist and Leeds Metropolitan graduate, Charlotte Harris, whose work is featured in the collection of London's National Portrait Gallery; Chairman of the Leeds Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ) and champion of the city's Sikh community, Harbans Singh Sagoo, who has played a major part in supporting Sikhs in South Leeds to be a part of mainstream society and former property lawyer Nigel McClea, who has led on some of Yorkshire's largest property projects including the Royal Armouries Museum and the Jorvik Viking Centre.
Leeds Metropolitan University Vice Chancellor, Professor Susan Price, said: "As a community champion Hanif Malik's commitment to charity work and the Hamara Healthy Living Centre has never wavered. Based in a purpose-developed £1.2 million centre, Hamara stands out as a beacon within the Asian voluntary sector and its success - thanks to Hanif's tireless hard work - has inspired many other organisations to emulate its achievements."