Birmingham legal advisor Anwar Khattak has been awarded a British Empire Medal for his voluntary service to the community.
Mr Khattak, aged 31, is the figure behind Birmingham Youth Sport Academy (BYSA), a voluntary-run organisation promoting football in a bid to keep underprivileged children occupied in more worthwhile pursuits.
Along with his busy day for K Legal Solicitors based in Alum Rock, Mr Khattak runs a club for over 150 young boys from the age of eight to 18.
BYSA started out in a small park as a way of involving his nephews in sport. They invited friends along and within two months Mr Khattak had 30 children involved.
Due to increasing interest in the weekend football club he officially founded BYSA in 2002 and the club moved from the park to Small Heath Leisure Centre. Today BYSA has over 150 registered members.
On March 13 BYSA will be hosting a celebration dinner with Liverpool FC legends John Barnes, John Aldridge and Didi Hamman at which Anwar will receive his award from Paul Sabapathy, Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands, on behalf of The Queen.
Mr Khattak said: “I was not expecting this award and am still in shock for being recognised for the work I have done over the years. The years that I have spent offering voluntary service through sports and education has been a challenge but very enjoyable.
“I have lots of great memories but this award tops it off. I urge more people to get involved in voluntary work as it’s giving something back to your community and changing lives which is so rewarding in many ways. ”
BYSA also offers educational advice, mentoring and job-hunting tips. As a result of BYSA’s intervention many past members have now embarked on careers in sport.
In 2011 Mr Khattak was awarded Volunteer of the Year, for the Birmingham region, at the FA Community Awards. Since BYSA’s inception he has trained over 1,000 youngsters from Small Heath, Alum Rock and Sparkhill.