Queen’s Park Community Orchard shortlisted in national diversity awards

Queens Park Community Orchard
QPCO revellers enjoy the multi-cultural parade

Bedford’s Queen’s Park Community Orchard (QPCO) has been shortlisted for the Race, Religion and Faiths category at the National Diversity Awards 2019 – the first time an organisation from Bedfordshire has been nominated.

Founded in 2012, Queen’s Park Community Orchard is about much more than its apple, pear and cherry trees.

Located on the banks of the River Great Ouse on The Slipe, the orchard is managed by local residents.

The project encourages local people of all ages, faiths and genders to come together to care for their environment by appreciating and using their public open spaces, and to develop an understanding of each other’s cultures to develop tolerance and mutual respect.

The community organisation joins 123 other shortlisted nominees, beating off competition from 28,000 applicants.

The 2019 winners will be announced at a ceremony at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral being crowned the best of British diversity at the National Diversity Awards (NDA).

Amongst others being honoured are a reformed gangster, a Junior ‘Bake Off’ contestant and a host of campaigners and activists, all of whom work tirelessly to combat injustice and discrimination in very different ways.

Eric Masih, chair of QPCO, said, “We were absolutely thrilled when we received the news that Queen’s Park Community Orchard had been nominated for a National Diversity Award.

“It is a testament to the hard work, passion and dedication of so many individuals within the community. We feel very privileged to represent Queen’s Park on a national stage.”

Marie-Ange Comerford-Raillon, QPCO secretary added, “The orchard is going from strength to strength, with projects such as the community Iftar and the annual Multi-Cultural Parade.

“We are developing a new group called Connect and Motivate Bedford across the different areas of the town. We want to give a voice to people at grassroots level and introduce our work to more and more members of this diverse community all the time.”

Paul Sesay, Founder and CEO of the National Diversity Awards added “A record amount of nominations and votes were received this year, the most we have ever received. I know our judging panel had an incredibly difficult task of whittling down the nominees to create an outstanding shortlist.

“So many heartfelt testimonies really showcased how these people and organisations are having a profound impact on the lives of others, and I applaud them for their dedication to each specific cause.

“Congratulations to all of our shortlisted nominees, it is a privilege to recognise your bravery, resilience and courage and I am honoured to share this with the nation. I look forward to congratulating you in person in September”.

You can read the full list of nominees at www.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/shortlist

Follow Queen’s Park Community Orchard on twitter and facebook @QPCOBEDFORD.