A voluntary organisation which supports Muslims across Bolton and further afield has been recognised for its work by being awarded 'the MBE for businesses'.

Bolton Council of Mosques, also known as BCOM, has been given the King's Award for voluntary service it does in the community. 

Having served the community for almost 25 years, it offers services like funeral assistance, free counselling and DBS checks, as well as other services. 

Imteyaz Ali, secretary of BCOM, said: "The main reason is we are a volunteer organisation, under one umbrella, we represent the interests of all of the mosques in Bolton. 

The Bolton News: BcOM meeting with council leadership in MarchBcOM meeting with council leadership in March (Image: BCoM)

"We work closely with the local authority, GMP, the judicial services, the hospital and various other agencies in aspects of community cohesion. 

"Our executive team are all from working backgrounds and do this on a voluntary basis." 

One of BCOM's key areas is its funeral service, which takes care of funerals on behalf of families during what can be a stressful and turbulent time. 

Imteyaz added: "The organisation has been going from strength to strength over 25 years, and this award could not have been possible without the help of our dedicated volunteers.

The Bolton News: Senior Coroner Timothy Brennand speaking at BCoMSenior Coroner Timothy Brennand speaking at BCoM (Image: BCoM)

"This award perhaps also facilitates a timely reminder to reflect upon our journey to date, where we were, how far we have come, how much value we have added and how can we continue to make a difference in a fast-changing world. 

"We are thankful to our partners, if it wasn't for our working relationship, then we wouldn't be able to provide these services. We are also thankful to our mosques and everyone in the wider community who support us."

The King’s Awards for Voluntary Service is for outstanding achievement by UK voluntary groups - they are the highest official awards in the country for voluntary groups and are equivalent to an MBE, and they are awarded for life. 

Asif Patel, Chairman of BCOM, said: "We are quite fortunate to be in a position to help people. It is an award not just for BCOM, but for the community of Bolton.

The Bolton News: A boxercise class put on for childrenA boxercise class put on for children (Image: BCoM)

"But it is always good to be recognised for the work that we do, it is a silver lining. 

"We don't just do funeral services, for example we took the younger generation for an opportunity to do work experience with the crown court judges."

For more information about BCOM's services, go to their website: https://thebcom.org/

An official statement reads: "The Bolton Council of Mosques is truly honoured to have been nominated and receive this award. It symbolises the painstaking efforts and unflinching commitment of all who have been involved with the organisation over the years. 

"We are immensely thankful to everyone who continues to support BCOM."