Kirklees Council leader Shabir Pandor has spoken of his pride after a community project involving the council was highly commended at the British Diversity Awards in London.

The council in partnership with the Black African and Caribbean community in Kirklees, and diversity and inclusion specialists Amber and Greene, were nominated for the Community Project of the Year award for their work on the Iroko project.

The Iroko project was an innovative eight-month community-led initiative which aimed to uncover inequalities that the Black African and Caribbean community experience.

The project has been delivered in partnership with the Black community who have described their lived experiences, their challenges, and their strengths and identified the steps and actions they feel will bring about impactful change.

Clr Pandor said: “I’m so proud that the Iroko project was highly commended for this award. There were some other excellent nominations for this category, and to be nominated alongside them is a huge achievement.  

“Iroko is one of the finest examples of collaboration work between the council and Kirklees communities I have seen during my time in local government. From the very beginning, Kirklees communities have been at the heart of the project be that through becoming project ambassadors, sharing their lived experiences or contributing to the action plan.

“Iroko is an excellent example of the work we are doing to address the inequalities in society, but we’ve still got plenty of work to do. We must now continue to ensure we provide a pandemic recovery that leaves no one behind.”

The Iroko project is led by ten Iroko ambassadors who use their local knowledge, lived experiences, and relationships to direct, guide, and facilitate community engagement. They are supported by Kirklees Council and Amber and Greene.

The ten project ambassadors chose to name the project after the Iroko tree, a symbol of growth and healing found throughout West Africa.