In a year of unprecedented challenges and political turmoil, communities across the UK have demonstrated an incredible resilience to some of the most pressing issues faced by the British public in contemporary times. The Covid-19 pandemic has heightened and shed light on the many inequalities faced by communities across the UK, and serves as a reminder of the devastating impacts that deprivation has on health, particularly amongst BAME communities.  The sheer intensity of discussions relating to issues such as racism and health inequalities in the UK has enabled and mobilised an entire generation to engage in vital conversations to tackle these institutional issues. 

Organisations and community groups have worked tirelessly throughout the year to address some of these issues. Members of Parliament have played an important role in the efforts to provide solutions to these issues, including through actively working with underrepresented and disadvantaged communities, providing resources and support, and leading on key issues in the House of Commons.

The Patchwork MP of The Year Award recognises these efforts and celebrates MPs who have been actively engaged in working with underrepresented members of society and championing issues on their behalf. It is not only an opportunity to acknowledge their immense contributions towards tackling major issues and working towards a more inclusive society, but also an opportunity to reflect on best practice and what must be done to further improve our communities.  It is a poignant reminder to young people, like myself, that there is an entire community of individuals working to create a more inclusive society. 

The work of the MPs nominated this year has been extensive. Many have collaborated with local organisations to provide resources and support to those who have been particularly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. These efforts range from delivering meals and medication to those who are vulnerable and shielding, to supporting young people in progressing in their education. It also includes working to improve access to healthcare for individuals living in particularly remote communities, as well as supporting young people in gaining access to employment opportunities.

In previous years, the Awards have been held in Speaker’s House in the House of Commons, and the brilliance and grandeur of the historic Palace of Westminster adds to the excitement that can be felt in the atmosphere. Having attended the 2018 Awards, I left with a heightened sense of optimism and excitement for the future, secure in the knowledge that not only are MPs working to make politics more accessible but are being celebrated every step of the way. The highlights of the ceremony for many people is having the opportunity to hear some brilliant speeches from nominees. Although this is a key aspect of the award ceremony, celebrating with like-minded peers and reflecting on my own journey was certainly a treasured part of my Patchwork journey.

This year will be a historic awards ceremony, with MPs accepting awards via zoom in a virtual ceremony. Despite this, the Patchwork MP of the Year Awards 2020 will be a wonderful opportunity to hear from MPs, as they share their considerable efforts in supporting diverse communities. I feel privileged to have played a small role in organising the Awards ceremony and am excited to share with you all the contributions MPs have made to further the Patchwork values of inclusivity, civic participation and diversity in their communities.

Written by Samaira Saleem, Patchwork Masterclass Graduate 2018

The 2020 virtual MP of the Year Awards will be held on Wednesday, December 2nd. Register to attend here.