10th September 2021 – HQ Community Art Network (CAN), a Community Interest Company based in Leicester, is calling for support as it reaches the final stages of O2’s Everyday Heroes Awards.
Managing Director of HQ CAN, Yasin El Ashrafi, has been crowned one of the regional winners of this year’s awards – celebrating the independent and small businesses, and the individuals behind them, who have adapted and flexed their business to go e above and beyond to support their communities or have remained resilient and resourceful in the face of adversity.
Yasin was nominated by members of the public who wished to acknowledge his incredible efforts in Leicestershire as he has worked tirelessly for over a decade to help the local creative community flourish. After realising there were no music services for adults in the area and talented creatives were going unrecognised, he is now the owner of HQ Recording Studio, HQ Familia record label and HQ CAN with a simple mission to help disadvantaged individuals achieve their full potential through bespoke programs offering mentoring, support and experience in the creative industries.
During lockdown, Yasin adapted his services to make them more accessible, creating portable studios that he drove to isolating, high risk and rural members of his community, and has made services such as mentoring and teaching available online as well as in person.
When asked what being named a regional winner meant to him, Yasin said: “I’m honoured to have been chosen as one of the regional winners. It’s been a hard year for everyone in the team as we’ve conquered technology, lockdown and disconnection. Technology was invaluable in ensuring we were able to continue delivering quality support and care to the most disconnected in our community, whether through offering online classes or recording music. Transitioning to online wasn’t without its obstacles, but we’ve come out of lockdown with a host of skills that can only benefit us going forward.”
“Winning £5,000 would mean we’d be able to secure even more equipment for our young creatives to continue doing what they love, alongside helping us continue to support the groups that need it the most.”
Since 2016, over 130 beneficiaries have been supported by HQ CAN across seven projects. For some HQ CAN has been a lifeline, while others consider the hub as a creative outlet. Yasin is continuing to spearhead the efforts to boost the music industry infrastructure in Leicester City Centre, while offering incredible tailor-made projects aimed at improving the employability, skills and mental wellbeing of hard-to-reach and disadvantaged young people.
Yasin is one of five regional winners battling it out to be crowned this year’s Everyday Hero who will receive the £5000 cash prize. Public votes will account for 50 per cent of the final outcome, while the other 50 per cent will be determined by the O2 panel who will be joined by internationally renowned interior designer and entrepreneur, Kelly Hoppen, CBE.
Members of the public have until Tuesday 21st September to head to @o2businessuk on Twitter to like and retweet to vote for their winner.
Jo Bertram, Managing Director, Business & Wholesale at Virgin Media O2 said: “Yasin is an incredible representation of the huge effort that people have made across the UK in bringing communities together during the pandemic. During lockdown, Yasin expanded his network and partnerships across the country, using connectivity to help ensure no one would be left behind. Where there was once few services and opportunities for young musicians in Leicester, Yasin has created an organisation that benefits the creative community in the city and enables people to take their passions and turn them into profitable businesses. He couldn’t be more deserving of his place as a regional winner of O2’s Everyday Heroes award.”
Other regional winners include @indytute from Kent, @loveyourdoorstep from London, @jackalopejoecoffeeco from Lincolnshire and @boo_hq from Bolton. To find out more about their stories, visit https://www.o2.co.uk/business/everyday-heroes.
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