Former Camden councillor made OBE in Queen's Birthday Honours
- Credit: Abdul Hai
A former Camden councillor feels "humbled" after being made an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
Abdul Hai was made an Officer of the British Empire for services to young people and to the community in Camden and London.
The former King's Cross councillor whose last position was as cabinet member for young people, equalities and cohesion, stood down just before the May elections having served for 16 years.
Receiving his OBE, he told the Ham&High that at first he thought the letter "was a prank".
"It was a great surprise but a real honour and privilege to be honest.
"It's particularly humbling to have received it during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee when we are all celebrating her Majesty's unique record of public service."
Abdul remains on Camden Council's Youth Safety Taskforce steering youngsters away from crime and violence.
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From 2017 he co-chaired a task force with Camden and Holburn MP Sir Kier Starmer to investigate the causes and nature of increasing youth violence.
"In 2017 the youth violence in Camden peaked, and Camden was one of the boroughs with a high level of youth violence in London which was very concerning.
"We bought residents, businesses, schools and community groups together with the collective desire to improve youth safety in the borough," he said.
"As part of youth safety work, what became quite clear was that both the young people were victims and as well as perpetrators. That was quite striking."
The ensuing report produced 17 recommendations.
"We've taken a health and trauma approach that means you take a whole community approach to youth violence instead of taking it through the criminal justice system, demonising and criminalising young people."
On standing down as a councillor he said: "I'm a great believer that you don't bring about changes if you all remain in the same positions.
"How do you bring new generations of people, how do you bring new talent? If you look at the council now, it's probably has the most diverse councillors in the country both in gender, ethnicity, age, you name it."
He added: "The honour reflects not only my contribution, but that of the friends, colleagues, and in particular, the young people with whom I have worked.
"I hope that my award will be an inspiration to all local activists to work together to make their communities safer and fairer places in which to live."