Kirklees Council has been shortlisted at the British Diversity Awards for their innovative work with the Black African and Caribbean community on the Iroko project.

Iroko has been shortlisted in the ‘Community Project of the Year’ category for its community-led approach to uncovering inequalities that the Black African and Caribbean communities experience.

The project has been delivered in partnership with the 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.

Kirklees must now wait until March to find out if they have been successful at this year’s British Diversity Awards.

Manchester United and England footballer, Marcus Rashford MBE, has also been shortlisted in this year’s awards. He joins the likes of Jamie Carragher, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Tom Daley OBE who have all been shortlisted in the ‘Media Champion in Public Eye’ category.

Clr Shabir Pandor, leader of Kirklees Council, said: “I’m so proud to see the Iroko project shortlisted for a British Diversity Award. The work of the project has now been recognised both nationally and internationally which is a true testament to the importance of Iroko.

“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.

“The events of 2020 shook the world and Kirklees was no exception. We all saw how the pandemic highlighted the long-standing inequalities in our society and we knew that our recovery had to be one of inclusion. I want everyone in Kirklees to live a healthy life that is rich with opportunity and I will continue to work with residents, colleagues and partners to achieve this ambition.”

The project is led by 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 Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion specialists Amber and Greene.

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