The Argus' Pride of Gwent awards were held earlier this month, in which a plethora of dedicated volunteers were hailed for their hard work during the pandemic. Here we highlight just one of them.

TARIQ Khan’s dedication to making a difference to people who are homeless or struggling has earned him the Pride of Gwent ‘Lifetime Achievement’ accolade, sponsored by Western Power Distribution.

Tariq is the founder of Feed Newport, a community interest company that grew out of Help the Homeless Newport, which ran for two years.

South Wales Argus: Tariq Khan (L)  and Nick Sunga at the community clothes giveaway in Pill

Under his leadership, Feed Newport has set up a food bank, soup kitchen and a community shop and has adapted and evolved to meet the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It’s provided hundreds of hot meals to the vulnerable, donated more than 1,000 coats to homeless charities, helped with rehoming people and developed partnerships with several local supermarkets.

Tariq, who is employed by the housing organisation Pobl, came up with the idea for Feed Newport after organising community events to inject a feeling of positivity into his local area. He says a further inspiration is his wish to show his four children “kindness and compassion”.

Western Power Distribution is the company responsible for distributing electricity across South Wales, the South West and the Midlands.

“We employ over 6,500 people and they are committed to ensuring our 7.9 million customers – almost one million of which are in South Wales – receive the highest standards of service,” says a spokesman.

“As a distribution business we don’t sell electricity – that’s the job of supply companies.

“We invest around £1 billion every year to ensure the power network of poles and pylons, cables, wires and substations delivers electricity to homes and businesses around the clock. It’s a service that costs the average customer just 27 pence a day.

“We are pleased to sponsor the Lifetime Achievement Award in the South Wales Argus Pride of Gwent Awards.

“We believe that companies like ours should play a full and active role in the communities they serve, and that awards initiatives are an appropriate way of recognising, encouraging and rewarding people for their hard work and for the way they inspire others.

“With this in mind we have stepped up support to communities affected by Coronavirus and at the start of lockdown last year we established our In This Together – Community Fund.

“The fund was launched to support grass root organisations deliver care to vulnerable people and families. In total we awarded £1 million to 871 good causes directly benefitting 560,000 people. Over £230,000 of the fund was spent in Wales, helping to support 205 organisations with grants to help the community during these challenging times.

"Many of these organisations would simply not function if it were not for the hard work of their volunteers and supporters – individuals who are committed to contributing their time and energy to improve the social and economic wellbeing of their regions.

"As a key supporter of the Awards, we have enjoyed finding out about all the finalists and their achievements and helping to honour these exceptional people.”

South Wales Argus: Western Power