H & F Council Employee Awarded MBE

Aysha honoured for challenging extremism and empowering communities

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Hammersmith & Fulham council employee Aysha Esakji has been included in the 2014 New Year’s honours list.

She received a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) award for services to challenging extremism and empowering communities.

Aysha has worked jointly at Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea councils for the past nine years with the Prevent team; a Government funded initiative which aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

The MBE is awarded for a significant achievement or outstanding service to the community. It is also awarded for local hands-on service which stands out as an example to other people.

Aysha, a key member of the bi-borough Prevent team, works to support and protect people who might be susceptible to radicalisation using safeguarding processes to ensure that they are diverted away before any crime is committed.

Prevent works at the pre-criminal stage by using early intervention to encourage individuals and communities to challenge extremist and terrorist ideology and behaviour.

Councillor Greg Smith, H&F Council Deputy Leader, said: “I would like to congratulate Aysha on her much deserved MBE. We are proud to have such distinguished staff working for us in Hammersmith & Fulham. She has excelled in her career, gaining national recognition. She is an inspiration and I wish her well.”

Aysha has been at the forefront of empowering communities to take shared ownership for responding to extremism and she has recruited hundreds of potentially vulnerable individuals into Prevent activities since 2009.

Prior to her work in the council, Aysha had worked tirelessly in related areas such as supporting the victims of hate crime. 

She consistently finds the time to make personal visits to individuals, community groups, religious organisations, and community centres, building trust between communities and Government.

In the last year alone, Aysha has made more than 150 visits to various community outlets and service providers. This has paid dividends with over half of all projects being delivered or supported by community partners.

Challenging projects designed to work with hard to reach audiences have been fully subscribed and moreover have evidenced the delivery of significant reductions in the risk of radicalisation.

Thanks to her efforts, hundreds of community members have attended the boroughs’ ‘Community Questions’ events, which she helped to set up, which challenge extremist narratives.

Similarly, she took responsibility for recruiting disengaged parents of vulnerable young people onto a tailored 13-week parenting programme, which she co-designed. The results were so successful that the project has been renewed and expanded.

By the end of 2013 approximately 224 troubled families benefited from this tailored parenting programme.

January 6, 2014