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  • Writer's picturePaul Andrews

Awards Celebrate Leicestershire's Community Champions


Leicester and Leicestershire’s ‘Community Champions’ were celebrated at the auspicious, annual VAL Awards 2023 in Leicester. The prestigious awards was proudly supported by Market Harborough Building Society as headline sponsor and honours the remarkable individuals and organisations that tirelessly contribute to our local communities.


The VAL Awards, originally established in 2019, has become an annual tradition for the Leicester-based Voluntary Action Leicestershire charity ‘hub’ and a chance to shine a spotlight on the invaluable work of volunteers, community groups, and charities that go above and beyond to make a positive impact, and whose dedication and passion make Leicester and Leicestershire a better place for us all to live.


The ticketed event, which was compered by BBC’s Rupal Rajani and CEO of VAL, Kevin Allen Khimani, was held in front of a packed audience of over 230 guests in the Grand Hall at Leicester’s The Grand Hotel.

Speaking for the first time as newly appointed CEO of Voluntary Action LeicesterShire, Kevin Allen Khimani said; “Tonight we are both humbled and inspired by the many individuals and groups working within our charity and voluntary sector in Leicester and Leicestershire. Like you, I have shed many tears listening and learning about some of these incredible individuals, who, without their tireless efforts and determination, so many people would live more difficult lives. I’m immensely proud that the VAL Awards 2023 enable us to celebrate some of these inspirational people and stories that might not otherwise be recognized.”

He continued; “If you have been inspired by the finalists and winners celebrated in this year’s awards, I’d ask you: “what are you doing to make life better for others?” At VAL, we support over 3500 charities and grassroots organisations that all need support, so we invite anyone to get in touch with us and, together, we can help connect you to a cause or project that inspires you enough to get involved – and help others lead a better life.”

Lesley Vernon, Chief Engagement Officer at MHBS: “Congratulations to all the charities and individual winners and nominations who have dedicated their time, resources and passion to help strengthen our communities. Being a mutual Society, this is at the heart of our purpose too, and together we can create a brighter and more inclusive future for all. Your efforts have truly made a difference and will inspire others to join in helping our communities thrive.”

Monies raised by the local sponsors allowed the event to run without charge to all finalists and their chosen guests, so special thanks must go to headline sponsor, Market Harborough Building Society, alongside Aspire Pharma Ltd; Fraser Urquhart Media; PPL PRS; Meesh Consulting and Paragon Sales Solutions.

Winners of the VAL Awards 2023 are confirmed as:

City Charity of the Year

Big Difference Company

County Charity of the Year

Helping Hands Community Trust

Social Enterprise of the Year

Team Hub CIC

Volunteer-Led Organisation of the Year

Feed the Need Coalville

Trustee of the Year – sponsored by Paragon Sales Solutions

Eileen Richards

Fundraiser of the Year – sponsored by PPL PRS

Chris Shaw


Charity & Business Partnership of the Year – sponsored by FU Media

Pedestrian

Kathryn Burgess Volunteer of the Year – sponsored by Meesh Consulting

Jas Kainth

Inspiring Leader of the Year – sponsored by Aspire Pharma

Jaimini Bharakhada

Charity of the Year

Helping Hands Community Trust

Lifetime Achievement Award

Kevan Liles MBE



Pictured: Kevan Liles MBE receives his Lifetime Achievement Award by new CEO of VAL, Kevin Allen Khimani. Image by Saul Morgan.

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