A young Greater Manchester charity founder has been appointed by Her Majesty The Queen as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to young people and the community in Greater Manchester.
Saeed Atcha, 22, from Bolton, is the Chief Executive of Xplode Magazine which helps young people in Greater Manchester through volunteering, jobs and skills training.
He founded the charity aged 15 to promote a positive image of young people after the fallout from the 2011 riots. He spent much of his teen years in and out of care and risking exclusion from school.
Mr Atcha said: “I felt quite emotional when I found out. For me, receiving this is unimaginable. I don’t take time to reflect, I always want to conquer the next challenge but this serves as a tap on the shoulder to say, ‘well done, now push further and faster for what you believe in’ and what I’d say is don’t underestimate the importance of that tap on the shoulder to young people.”
The young Chief Executive combines the role with his full-time studies at Manchester Metropolitan University and his trusteeships at Young Manchester and the national youth social action charity Step Up to Serve behind the #iWill campaign.
Saimah Malji, Chair of Xplode said: “Everybody at Xplode is thrilled for Saeed. Establishing an organisation and running it for seven years is a lot of hard work, but it’s what he’s believed in for such a long time: any young person can affect change and achieve their dreams. Saeed has supported thousands of young people and transformed lives. I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of such recognition.”
Saeed was recently appointed Social Mobility Commissioner drawing on his past as motivation to champion for the disadvantaged and help create a fairer society.
He added: “I can’t take all of the credit for this honour. My incredible team and supportive family really deserve this award for supporting me through many steep learning curves that a young CEO faces. It mustn’t have been easy for them!”
The honour will be presented at Buckingham Palace in 2019.