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NEEL RADIA, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CARE CATERING
Radia spent six years as the NACC's southeast chair before being elected as national chair of the organisation in 2013. Since then he has led the organisation against a backdrop of social care budget cuts and austerity measures as the care sector comes under increasing pressure from a growing older population.
He has also spearheaded a number of NACC awareness and support campaigns. In particular, he has passionately championed the protection of Meals on Wheels services, calling on the government to make it statutory throughout the UK.
He has tirelessly supported and nurtured new initiatives, as well as the development of a sector-specific fortification recipe book, and the recruitment of more than 120 new members to the south-east region of the NACC, while at the same time engaged members with informative seminars and accredited training events.
In addition, Radia supports the Help the Hospice Nutrition Group, where he is a proactive contributor to improving nutritional care for patients in palliative care. His work in this area prompted Dr Eleni Tsiompanou, chair of the group, to say of Radia: "He is a great asset to the group by bringing both creative ideas and a firm conviction of the important positive role the catering industry can play in improving nutritional standards in the healthcare sector."
Radia also gives back to the University of Brighton where he was once a student through the university's mentoring programme, which aims to help students overcome the barriers they feel may prevent them from sourcing suitable graduate employment.
On top of all this, Radia has found the time to contribute to other charities, including the Food Chain, which delivers meals and groceries and offers cookery and nutrition classes and communal eating opportunities to people living with HIV in London and their dependants.
SiobhÁ¡n Lanigan, chief executive of the Food Chain, had this to say: "Neel puts a great deal into community activities and we know he has many other work and volunteering commitments requiring his time and attention. We are pleased to be one of the charities Neel supports and we are very proud of his contribution. He is a generous individual who deserves acknowledgement and recognition for his excellent voluntary work."
What the judges said
"In spite of a demanding day job, Neel still finds time to support many critical initiatives and charities. He is a wonderful ambassador for the NACC, vigorously campaigning for National Meals on Wheels and championing the industry's first NVQ Level 2 in Professional Cookery in Health and Social Care Catering.
"In addition to this, he is also a huge supporter of the Help the Hospice Nutrition Group, a mentor for students at Brighton University's Momentum Mentor Programme, and a volunteer for the Food Chain, which supports people living with HIV in London.
"This is one person who cannot be accused of 'just doing his job'. He's clearly a remarkable person with an inspiring outlook and a heart of gold."
Amanda Afiya, The Caterer
Catherine Attfield, Artizian
Tony Mulgrew, Ravenscliffe High School
Neel Radia, National Association of Care Catering
This award was judged by The Caterer editorial team
2014 Gerard Jacob, Vacherin
2013 Vera Mirescu, Host Management