Northampton father named as 'Rose of Northamptonshire' after providing 6,000 free meals to NHS workers and 10,000 masks to community during peak of pandemic
"I'm really privileged, really honoured, humbled."
A Northampton father-of-two has been named as a 'Rose of Northamptonshire' for his efforts during the pandemic, which has seen him provide 6,000 free healthy Indian meals to NHS workers and 10,000 free face masks to the BAME community in the county.
Imran Chowdhury, who was also awarded a British Empire Medal as part of the Queen's New Year's honours list, said it is a privilege to be recognised by the community for his ongoing support during the Covid crisis.
The 60-year-old said: "It's really a surprise for me. What I have done during this pandemic, there are so many people who work really hard. I'm really privileged, really honoured, humbled. Any recognition improves and accelerates your impact, it gives you more determination to do better and I'm just really privileged, honestly."
The award, which was open to the public to send in their nominations, recognises and expresses thanks to groups or individuals who have worked tirelessly to keep their communities safe since the pandemic began back in March 2020.
On being nominated for the award, Mr Chowdhury said: "I'm really touched and indebted to those great people who have taken the time to nominate me - I'm indebted to them for their generosity.
"Getting the award will perhaps inspire more people to come forward and contribute to society. We need more people to come forward and render their services for the better of the community."
When lockdown first began in March last year, Mr Chowdhury, his friends and the Saffron Indian restaurant in Castillian Street, said they can't just sit back and be idle, so they started giving out free meals to NHS workers, Northampton General Hospital and multiple schools in the community.
Mr Chowdhury also highlighted the Bangladeshi community as an important group to support at the time, as he believes they are one of the more marginalised communities in the UK.
He said the large majority of Bangladeshis are either frontline workers or employees at Indian restaurants, which have both involved many late nights and busy shifts over the last year. So Mr Chowdhury decided to start exercise classes for the community at Beckets Park, this was in a bid to get bodies moving and a fix of sunshine to maintain good overall health.
November's lockdown then came and Mr Chowdhury rallied his troops together again and provided healthy, free Indian meals to the over-70s, delivering them to doorsteps all over the town.
Mr Chowdhury is also the director of the not-for-profit Centre for Policy, Promotion and Prevention. The organisation's mission statement is to inspire integration to achieve cohesion, by working on projects across the United Kingdom to promote community cooperation between marginal communities and the wider society.
As soon as lockdown is over, Mr Chowdhury said he and his organisation are looking to organise cooking lessons for BAME youths to teach them how to prepare healthy meals.
For more information about Mr Chowdhury's work and organisation, visit https://c-ppp.org/