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West Ham choir director wins award for inclusivity work

PUBLISHED: 17:08 23 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:08 23 July 2018

TV presenter Michael Underwood presenting Naveen Arles with his award and Des Benjamin, ambassador for the British Citizen Awards. Picture: Mark Hakansson

TV presenter Michael Underwood presenting Naveen Arles with his award and Des Benjamin, ambassador for the British Citizen Awards. Picture: Mark Hakansson

Mark Hakansson

A choir director from West Ham has won an award for his work on improving inclusivity in Newham.

Naveen Arles directs four choirs, including the Newham Youth Choir and two prison choirs.

He was one of 29 people who received a British Citizen Award at Westminster for his work in the community.

Naveen co-founded Sanctuary Voices, a choir for refugees and asylum seekers, and LIGC, a non-auditioned choir for people from all sexual orientations, ethnic backgrounds and religions.

He said: “I am truly surprised by the length to which people have gone to say thanks to me. Life can be such a difficult, lonely and scary journey and having migrated a lot as a youth, I know those pains.

“I believe singing together is magical not only because the music can be beautiful but because everyone involved is changed.

“Music can offer opportunities for so much, anything from finding your inner strength to removing barriers.”

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