Spotlight Emdad Rahman An adventure with hope

Spotlight Emdad Rahman   An adventure with hope


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By Emdad Rahman

Emdad Rahman is a serial volunteer at the forefront of his community for
many years. Every day, he gives his time to others, supporting one charity and many good causes that benefit his local area. Emdad's work encompasses all religions and none, all colours, and ethnic backgrounds. He uses the power of sport to unite people, and his passions are working on issues that affect the homeless, literacy and engaging people through sports.

Let's shine a spotlight on some of these wonderful causes.

He founded a fantastic scheme called BookBicycle London in October 2019. With zero budget, he has delivered hundreds of books to isolated, vulnerable members of the community. Em- Dad collects unwanted books and delivers them on a bike to care homes, charities, hostels, hospital wards, and people's doorsteps. This combines his love for both cycling and books, and during the pandemic, he also began delivering food packages, PPE, and books. Last year, Transport for London named a cycle hire bike in his honour and gave him one year of free membership in the bike scheme to enable him to carry on volunteering.

As a Dementia Friends Champion, he delivers Dementia information-sharing sessions for the Alzheimer's Society. In this role, he has trained more than 3,000 people to become Dementia Friends and featured in a national ad campaign because of his efforts to raise awareness. At Leyton Orient FC, he trained the match day stewards in Dementia awareness and helped the club become Dementia friendly.

Emdad is a big believer in using sports for social change. He has delivered football coaching in Bangladesh and has taught football and cricket in Calais, Ghana, and Lebanon. He was part of a team that built a game-changing boat school for the Manta people - a hugely marginalised and much-discriminated community living on the waters of Char Montaj, Bangladesh. He was also involved with a huge multicultural event during the 2019 World Cup, which brought teams of Londoners, born and bred in the city, together to play matches. His team, Bangladesh, beat the favourites (Columbia and Jamaica) and second favourites (England and Brazil) in the final. This was a wonderful festival portraying all the great things about our fantastic country.
As a sports coach, Emdad has overseen the development of many local youngsters.

He is the Head Coach at Ekota Academy, teaching sports and supporting young participants and parents in involving themselves in civic duties and community projects. At the grassroots level in football, he has worked all roles, from flag laying at the FA Cup final to refereeing, coaching, playing, and managing.

He has visited Calais several times, coaching refugees in football and supporting a refugee warehouse (Care 4 Calais) and an art project (Catholique Caritas France). Along with this, he regularly volunteers at the Refugee Community Kitchen.

He even manages to find time to write some poetry, too! He is a football poet with 750 published football rhymes on www. He has worked with Paul Cannoville (Chelsea's first black player) to break down myths, writing a performance poem on Paul's life and teaming up with him to run a homeless soup kitchen with many recipients experiencing mental health.

Emdad volunteers as a team leader at One Third Soup Kitchen. Over the last couple of years, many homeless people were put in hostels and hotels during the lockdowns, where he and his team continued to provide deliveries to ensure people were still getting meals. Because of people's struggles, they launched a new food bank much earlier than planned so that 50- 60 families were receiving regular food packages.

He trained to become a volunteer crisis text counsellor, to talk to and assist fellow humans. In this role, he sits on a computer portal and talks to people who are going through tough times, experiencing difficult emotions, and sometimes even feeling suicidal. The counselling is by text only, and he has spoken to over 500 people, where, thankfully, every single conversation led to a positive resolution. Emdad believes his training helped support people, but, most importantly, the human connection. This is what people need.

That's not all! He is team captain of the Little Litter League, which empowers children and young people to volunteer their time cleaning their communities with organised litter picks.
When he's not giving back, he works as a Civil Servant and has three children. He says he wants to teach them specific values, like understanding the importance of time and how much you can achieve if you use it well.

Emdad has rightly, and very well-deservedly, won awards for his tireless volunteering. The Independent named him on The Happy List in 2020. The same year, he became one of the UK's 21 Lionhearts, captained by the late great Sir Captain Tom Moore. He was previously named as an Anne Frank educator and role model. He has received the Volunteer Commitment Award at the Canary Wharf Sports Personality of the Year Awards and was given an Honorary Freedom of the Borough for Barking and Dagenham.

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