Lord Mayor hosts tea party to celebrate New Year Honours for Oxford homeless champion

Published: Monday, 18th February 2019

The Lord Mayor, Councillor Colin Cook, is hosting a tea party to celebrate the British Empire Medal (BEM) awarded to Shabnam Sabir in the New Year Honours list.

Ms Sabir was awarded her BEM for services to homeless and young people in Oxford.

During Ramadan in 2015 Ms Sabir began delivering leftover food from friends and family to homeless people in Oxford, and this was the origin of the Oxford Homeless Project. The project, which recently commemorated its third anniversary, relies on volunteers to provide a free curry lunch to around 50 homeless people every fortnight.

In addition to a full time job at EMBS Community College, Ms Sabir is the organiser of the Oxford Eid Extravaganza and volunteers for Oxfordshire Refugee Solidarity. She has also worked with young people in education for 20 years, and has set up tuition and children’s clubs and been a youth activity leader for the council.

The celebratory tea party will take place in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour in Oxford Town Hall on Tuesday 19 February. Ms Sabir’s guests will include her family, Oxford Homeless Project volunteers and the project’s co-founder, Tayyaba Hameed.

Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Colin Cook, said: “Too often people working and volunteering to support our communities remain unsung. I am proud that Shabnam’s tireless efforts to help homeless and young people in Oxford have been recognised with a British Empire Medal, and that we are able to mark that with a celebration of our own.”

Shabnam Sabir BEM said: “I am truly honoured to be recognised for this award and thank the Lord Mayor for this wonderful honour. I am also delighted to be able to share it with people that have been on this journey with me, including key volunteers from Oxford Homeless Project and our co-founder, Tayyaba Hameed, those who have worked with me to support young people over the years, and also my family who have been my pillar of strength. I am following my heart and that is to help others.”