Two councillors in Redbridge have beaten 300 competitors to be shortlisted for national awards recognising their contributions.

Cllr Jas Athwal and Cllr Tanweer Khan are among 49 councillors across the UK who have been shortlisted for the 2023 LGIU (Local Government Information Unit) and CCLA Cllr Awards.

Now in its 14th year, the awards showcase the vital contributions of councillors.

Leader of Redbridge Council, Cllr Athwal, has been shortlisted for the Leader of the Year award while Mayfield representative Cllr Khan will compete for Community Champion of the Year.

The Cllr Awards judging panels are made up of senior councillors and leading stakeholders from across the sector.

Cllr Khan, who was only elected in May 2022, said: "I am deeply touched, genuinely humbled, and incredibly honoured that my constituents have recognised the work I put in to make our community a better, happier and safer place to live."

Romford Recorder: Tanweer Khan (2nd left) with representatives of Sue's HouseTanweer Khan (2nd left) with representatives of Sue's House (Image: LDRS)

He said he received "at least 40" nominations from constituents, community groups, pensioners and local charities including Sue's House Ilford Cancer & Holistic Help Centre.

Earlier this year, the Local Democracy Reporting Service reported that Cllr Khan donated £1,000 of his councillor allowance to the charity.

He claimed nominations were from residents who "had some issue with the council that they were not getting addressed, and upon contacting me I dealt with their concerns", that he runs regular surgeries and keeps people updated on various issues in the area such as road closures or public events.

He added: "It would mean the world for me to win. My whole outlook on life is that you should always help people if you are in a position to do so.

"I came into politics for exactly that reason, and if I won it would be one of the proudest moments in my life."

He said if he didn't win he would "still be happy and grateful" to make it to the shortlist.

"If my council work makes at least one person better off, in some way, shape or form, and nobody is worse off - then I am already winning," he added.

Romford Recorder: Will Cllr Jas Athwal, leader of Redbridge Council, win Leader of the Year?Will Cllr Jas Athwal, leader of Redbridge Council, win Leader of the Year? (Image: Archant)

Cllr Athwal said he felt "incredibly honoured" to have been nominated for the award.

He said the nomination came from a local resident who was grateful for the council's work "keeping our parks and green spaces safe for visitors".

The pandemic highlighted what a vital lifeline Redbridge's parks are for local people, he said, so the council invested in a ParkGuard team, patrolling the parks, and put in place a Public Space Protection Order to enforce responsible dog ownership.

He added: "Leaders in Local Government have faced many difficulties over recent years, whether it’s reduction in government funding, or the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, across the country we have had to innovate and to deliver vital services to more people for less, so to be recognised in this way means a lot.

"Winning this award would be testament to the good work we’re doing in Redbridge, our commitment to our neighbours, and the ground-breaking programmes we’ve put in place to make our area the best place to live, work and visit.

"The award would recognise the work of our administration and all the council staff who every day go above and beyond for the people of Redbridge."

Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of LGIU, said: "In the face of unprecedented domestic and global challenges over the last year, councillors nationwide have once again exhibited unwavering dedication to serving their constituents.

"Congratulations to all the councillors nominated and shortlisted and I look forward to announcing the winners in November.”

The winners in England and Wales will be announced at the Guildhall in London at 7pm on November 16.