A former refugee from Iraq has been honoured

‘Leading Light’ award for former refugee who is determined to ‘give something back’

05 November 2013

Guinness Northern Counties has honoured a former refugee from Iraq for his work in helping others since he settled in Greater Manchester.

They presented the ‘Leading Light Award’ to resident Nouri Baker who lives in Greater Manchester at its Bright Star Awards ceremony at the Leeds Hilton Hotel last week.

Nouri, who worked as a University lecturer in Iraq, fled his homeland in 2006 after his son, aged just 22, was murdered by Al Quaida terrorists. Fearing for their own lives, he and his family escaped initially to Jordan. There, with the help of the Red Cross and the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA) they were granted refugee status by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Since arriving in the UK in 2008, Nouri has worked to support others fleeing persecution and terror by volunteering with Refugee Action. More recently he secured a scientific research associate position at the University of Manchester, where he is also the contact person for Arabic speaking students.

He also gives his time to Guinness Northern Counties, as the their Director of Customer Services, Penny Bayley, explained: "Nouri has been an actively involved resident for a number of years, serving on our Customer Panel and Area Forum and makes a significant contribution to improving the way we deliver our services" she said.

"It was Nouri’s idea, for example, that our staff and contractors should wear overshoes when entering a Muslim’s home, which is now common practice. As a member of the Area Forum he has contributed to helping us raise our performance standards and is about to become involved in a group looking at our repairs and maintenance service."

Nouri said he was deeply honoured to be recognised by Guinness Northern Counties for his contribution: "My family have suffered a great deal as a result of religious sectarianism in Iraq but I can never forget the support and encouragement that we have had from the British people since we came here" he said. "The people I have met at Guinness Northern Counties and other organisations have become like my family to me and I want to give something back and make whatever contribution I can. I also feel it’s important for me to show my children how to be community minded and give what they can to this country."

With the help of a Guinness Partnership Education Award, Nouri has now qualified as an interpreter and his aim is to continue to help others in need, whether they are refugees, students or his fellow residents.

Guinness Northern Counties holds the Customer Star Awards every year to honour customers who have either made a positive difference in their local community or overcome a personal challenge in their own lives. Customers and staff are involved in both nominating entrants and judging the winners.

Media Contact for Guinness Northern Counties: James Rae: (Mobile) 07919 156432

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