The Yorkshire Asian Young Achievers Awards – known as The YAYAs – are open to any young person of South Asian heritage (Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi etc.) who was born in Yorkshire and now lives anywhere in the country, or lives and works in, Yorkshire.
Aimed at socially-mobile young achievers who have overcome deprivation and disadvantage or have broken through traditional barriers to progress, the awards attracted scores of entries in its very first year, despite the difficulties created by the pandemic.
With Covid 19 impacting on businesses, organisations, and schools, colleges and universities, organisers have decided to keep entries open for another two weeks.
The closing date is now Saturday July 31.
The YAYAS are organised by the Bradford-based QED Foundation, a registered charity which exists to improve the social and economic position of disadvantaged communities in partnership with public, private and civil society organisations, along with their headline partners, York St John University.
Dr Mohammed Ali OBE, Chief Executive of QED, said: “It’s really important that anyone eligible has the opportunity to enter, and we want to make sure that as many people as possible have had the chance to do so.
“The current situation has obviously impacted on the message getting out there, so we are extending the deadline for almost two weeks.
“Yorkshire has more than 600,000 BME residents, the vast majority of whom are of South Asian origin, and we want to make sure they all have the chance to enter,” he said.
“These young people continue to struggle to overcome disadvantages in making their way in the world, whether that is in education, employment or social mobility generally. We want these awards to celebrate the dynamic, hard-working people achieving great things with their lives.
“The standard of entries last year was truly remarkable. We had humbling and life-affirming stories of people overcoming the odds to carve their way in life and we feel enormously proud of all those who entered. They were all truly inspirational.”
The awards look to recognise success and effort in overcoming challenges and barriers, be they social, economic, personal, or simply the result of traditional or historical attitudes or circumstances, he said.
“In each area, we’re looking for beacons of success and achievement who can inspire others and be the role models that the young people who follow them can aspire to become and even overshadow.”
Rob Hickey, Chief Operating Officer at York St John University, said: “This was a hugely successful event in its inaugural year, and York St John University is proud to be supporting the YAYAs once again.”
After restrictions led to a virtual event last year, a prestigious gala awards night, hosted by radio personality and comedian Noreen Khan, is due to take place at the Cedar Court Hotel, with catering by My Lahore, on November 4 to celebrate the nominees and winners.
The keynote speaker at this year’s event will be Professor Akbar Ahmed, a former Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK, and an author, poet, playwright, and filmmaker. He is Professor of International Relations and currently holds the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at the American University of Washington DC.
The award categories are Achievement in School or College; Health/Mental Health and Healthcare; The Arts and Creative Industries; the Private Sector; Media; Education; the Public Sector; the Not-for-Profit Sector; Achievement as a Young Entrepreneur; Sport; and Achievement in Overcoming Life Obstacles.
Details of how to enter the YAYAs can be found at: theyayas.org.uk or via: qed-uk.org. The closing date for nominations is Saturday, July 31, 2021.
York St John University is the primary sponsor of the YAYAs.