A Solihull woman who has used an ancient form of dance to run workshops in schools and care homes has been honoured for her efforts.
Dr Chithra Ramakrishnan, the founder and artistic director of the arts group Shruthi UK, was among the community champions recognised at this year's Solihull Civic Honours.
Her passion for South Indian Classical Dance persuaded her to use the art form to develop tailored sessions for people living with conditions including autism, cerebral palsy and dementia.
This month the mum-of-two, from Dickens Heath, received the 2018 Mayor's Award, an accolade presented to those who have made an "outstanding contribution" to local people's lives or helped raise the profile of the borough.
Chithra said that the workshops are an opportunity to tap into the rich traditions of the region where she had grown up and "give something back".
"One of the schools in Solihull explained to me that this particular child really looked forward to me coming," she said. "This makes me very happy and fulfilled.
"This art dates back 5,000 years but the movements are customised ... to help different types of disabilities."
The workshops have taken Chithra to around 100 schools around the region and she has also linked up with various care homes - working with one lady of 104-years-old - and Solihull learning disability charity SoLO.
Originally from India, she moved to the UK in 2001 and to the borough a few years ago.
In 2015 she launched the British Carnatic Choir - the first of its kind in the country - and co-ordinates the annual Birmingham Thyagaraja Festival - a celebration of music and dance.
Having learned to dance herself as a child, Chithra believes that the arts also have a vital role to play in bringing different cultures together.
"It is extremely important, we live in a diverse community," she said.
"Music appears to broaden the perspective of a person. [They] learn to appreciate a different language and a different culture."
Having seen most of Solihull's recent mayors supporting her events over the years, it was a pleasant surprise when the artist learned that she would be receiving the award from the current First Citizen, Cllr Flo Nash.
Going forward, Chithra hopes that she can continue to run workshops with a whole range of of organisations and would like to see the activities taken into hospitals and rehab centres.
She is also busy preparing for the World Music Conference, set to take place at the University of Wolverhampton in November.
To find out more about Shruthi UK email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website (www.shruthiuk.com).
Roll of honour:
The annual awards, held at Solihull Council's Civic Suite, recognise "unsung heroes" from around the borough. The full list of 2018 winners was as follows:
Community Involvement: Mohammed Abdur Rashid
Community Involvement: Friends of Damson Parks
Community Involvement: Friends of Solihull Station
Creative Arts: Stephen and Caroline Bickerton
Inspirational Young Person: Mikey Akers
Inspirational Young Person: Samuel James Bowden
Making a Difference for Young People: Lee Fletcher
Sport: Val and Tony Shaw
Sport: Paul Archer
The Mayor's Award: Dr Chithra Ramakrishnan