Comedian and radio personality Noreen Khan has urged anyone who is eligible to make sure they enter this year’s Yorkshire Asian Young Achievers (YAYA) awards.

Noreen, who will be the host of the glittering gala presentation night later this year that will celebrate those shortlisted for the awards, says the nominees last year were all inspirational.

Noreen hosted a virtual ceremony for 2020’s event, and says the stories of those nominated were all moving, with the winners and those shortlisted showing real bravery and determination.

Entries are open until July 19th for the awards scheme which celebrates the achievements of young people of South Asian heritage who were born or live and work in Yorkshire.

Aimed at socially-mobile young achievers who have overcome deprivation and disadvantage or have broken through traditional barriers to progress, the awards attracted scores of entries in its very first year, despite the difficulties created by the pandemic.

The YAYAS are organised by the Bradford-based QED Foundation, a registered charity which exists to improve the social and economic position of disadvantaged communities in partnership with public, private and civil society organisations, along with their headline partners, York St John University.

Noreen, a stand-up comedian and award-winning BBC Radio presenter, currently hosts a show on the BBC Asian Network on weekdays and listening figures show she regularly has one of the most listened-to Asian radio shows in the UK. 

She is looking forward to hosting a physical event this year after last year’s virtual ceremony.

She said: “I was overwhelmed by the courage and determination shown by all those that were nominated in last year’s YAYAs. The stories of these young people really moved me. 

“The YAYAs are open to any young person of South Asian heritage – Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi etc – who was born in, lives or works in Yorkshire. Many of those nominated overcame deprivation and are able to become real role models to others in their local communities.”

She said the awards were important as they give recognition to young people who often come from disadvantaged backgrounds and whose achievements may not normally be noticed or celebrated.

“The message these awards send out is a hugely positive one and one that really seems to resonate with these young people who want to show the world they are contributing in a really brilliant way,” she said.

“I’d encourage anyone who fits the criteria or knows someone who they feel deserves some recognition to put themselves forward. Being nominated or winning could do wonders to boost their personal development and careers, so absolutely nothing to lose here!”

Dr Mohammed Ali OBE, Chief Executive of QED, said: “We are delighted to have such a talented host as Noreen back for this year’s awards. We can’t wait to see her in person after last year’s online event.”

The prestigious gala awards night is due to take place at the Cedar Court Hotel, Bradford, with catering by My Lahore, on November 4.

The keynote speaker at this year’s event will be Professor Akbar Ahmed, a former Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK, and an author, poet, playwright, and filmmaker. He is Professor of International Relations and currently holds the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at the American University of Washington DC.

The award categories are Achievement in School or College; Health/Mental Health and Healthcare; The Arts and Creative Industries; the Private Sector; Media; Education; the Public Sector; the Not-for-Profit Sector; Achievement as a Young Entrepreneur; Sport; and Achievement in Overcoming Life Obstacles.

Details of how to enter the YAYAs can be found at: or via: The closing date for nominations is Monday, July 19, 2021.

York St John University is the primary sponsor of the YAYAs.

Sponsors and supporters of the awards include: The National Science & Media Museum, Barnado’s, Mumtaz, the University of Bradford, GCHQ; Exa Networks, Bradford Council, Trinity College London, the University of York, Leeds City Council, NatWest; LOCALiQ, Cedar Court Hotels, My Lahore, Banner, BITE.