A community volunteer group which has offices in the Small Heath area of Birmingham has been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Purbanat CIC received the prestigious award for services to the community which included helping vulnerable people with mental health issues during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Purbanat CIC, a group of volunteers based in Birmingham has been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

This is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE.

Purbanat uses theatre as a platform to give voice to untold stories Purbanat CIC
Purbanat uses theatre as a platform to give voice to untold stories

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by local volunteer groups to benefit their communities.

Speaking about the award, Purbanat’s director Murad Khan, said: “We are trying to make a positive change to our society through arts. This award is the recognition of the dedication of our volunteers. We cannot thank our volunteers and well-wishers enough for their continuous support.

“This award also proves that we are on the right path and encourage our volunteers to do more for the community.”

Music is an important part of Purbanat's activities to inspire positive changePurbanat CIC
Music is an important part of Purbanat’s activities to inspire positive change

Purbanat started its journey in 2014 as a theatre group. From the very beginning Purbanat established itself as a creative home for new writers, performers, designers, and other art practitioners.

The group actively responds to issues that affect communities by using arts and creative activities to usher in positive change and address social injustice. The idea is to discover, nurture and offer a platform to stories and voices from the widest range of backgrounds.

The volunteers ensure that help and support is open to all members of the community including refugees and people whose first language may not be English. Purbanat acts as a bridge of hope for newcomers who might be suffering alone and in silence.

An art session for young people organised by PurbanatPurbanat CIC
An art session for young people organised by Purbanat

Some of the local help and support in the Small Heath area of Birmingham includes regular sessions for local women and children. Activities include music, fitness, hosting World Cinema film festivals, and sewing classes.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Purbanat expanded its activities beyond the arts and responded quickly to help the community.

An emergency hotline was opened for vulnerable community members to provide support from shopping to mental health support during lock-down and isolation. This support was received by approximately 200 families in Birmingham.

Purbanat works with the diverse communities of the West MidlandsPurbanat CIC
Purbanat works with the diverse communities of the West Midlands

Purbanat also arranged weekly online sessions for non-English speaking community members to disseminate the right information about COVID-19 and ran promo videos in different languages to encourage community members to vaccinate.

The hard work by Purbanat volunteers during the pandemic were highly appreciated by the Cabinet Office.

Purbanat is also a recognised centre for the Arts Award for Young People which is provided by Trinity College London.

Drama sessions are used by Purbanat to explore contemporary themesRangzeb Hussain
Drama sessions are used by Purbanat to explore contemporary themes

The team of volunteers all share a core ethos to make positive social change to the diverse communities of the West Midlands.

Since 2016, Purbanat has been organising Birmingham Multicultural Festival where art organisations from different ethnic communities participate to share and celebrate creative activities and cultures in a safe environment that nurtures and inspires people towards a more united and open society.

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