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BBO Bridges: Pride of Bridges Awards Celebrates the Achievements of Local Untapped Potential and Hidden Talent

Photos of Ryan James, recipient of the Achievement Against the Odds Award and Elena Parpalov, recipient of the Hidden Talent Award

On Friday 25th November, West Midlands-based employment support specialists Steps To Work hosted an awards ceremony to celebrate the achievements of participants on their BBO Bridges project.

The ceremony, held at the International Conference & Banqueting Centre in Wolverhampton, celebrated the most inspiring achievements of project participants, awarding those who have overcome multiple and complex barriers in recognition of their hard work, grit and determination.  Awards categories presented at the event included those for Hidden Talent, Personal Progression and Outstanding Commitment, amongst others.

It was an emotional celebration for both the awards nominees and members of staff working across the project, as people received awards for truly inspirational reasons. One such winner was Ryan James, who was the recipient of the Achievement Against the Odds Award not only for his determination to make a positive change in his life but also for inspiring others to do so.

Commenting on Ryan’s progress, Kate Beale – Project Manager at BBO Bridges’ delivery partner Just Straight Talk – said: “To witness this young man strive towards a balanced life in spite of his complex barriers has been a blessing, and he has shown me the true value of grit and determination. It’s easy to hang labels on individuals, but what Ryan has shown me is how to wear those labels, embrace his challenges and become stronger for them.”

Bhanu Dhir, Chief Executive Officer at Steps To Work, commented: “I was delighted to be invited to the Pride of Bridges Awards and witness first-hand the transformative impact that our work has on the day-to-day lives of our participants. I felt truly humbled to listen to inspirational stories of hard work, dedication and persistence in the face of serious challenges. It was clear to see that the project has had a huge impact on lots of people’s lives and, in turn, on the community as a whole. I’d like to congratulate each and every one of our participants for their achievements – every one of them deserves an award!”

“I would also like to extend my heartfelt thanks to our dedicated staff and specialist delivery partners who go above and beyond every day to support people in moving towards sustainable, rewarding and meaningful employment. Their tireless commitment to helping others has been critical to the success of BBO Bridges in empowering people to overcome their barriers and live the lives they wish to lead.”

Funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund, the BBO Bridges project supports people across Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton to develop their skills and confidence. The partnership consists of a diverse range of 15 organisations covering a wide range of specialisms, including mental and physical health issues and disabilities, drug and alcohol dependency, LGBTQ+, and refugees and migrants, along with many more.

For more information about the employment support services that Steps To Work provide, please visit: www.stepstowork.co.uk