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Outstanding Alumni Saima Ashraf Recognised as Community Champion

Outstanding Alumni Saima Ashraf Recognised as Community Champion

Blackburn College is proud that Alumni Saima Ashraf received the One Voice Outstanding Achievement Award at the recent 1V Community Champion Awards.

Saima, who was born in Blackburn and still lives in the town, currently works as a Senior Auditor at Merseyside Police – she is the only registered blind auditor in the UK and has kindly spoken about Blackburn College’s support as part of her remarkable journey.

Saima began losing her sight when she was a child but continued her education, including her Accounting, Business Studies and English Language A-Levels at Blackburn College.

Today, alongside her work for Merseyside Police, she is also a governor at St Vincent’s School for the Visually Impaired and hosts a radio show in Pendle, Lancashire which looks at health issues which are of concern to the Asian community. She has also committed her time to raising money for Blackburn and East Lancashire-based charities.

In light of her success, Saima still looks back on her time at Blackburn College with fondness: “When I was ready for starting college I was still coming to terms with losing my sight. I chose Blackburn College because I knew they had some of the best support networks in the North West.

“Without the College, I wouldn’t be the same person and I wouldn’t be where I am today. They encouraged me to learn, built my confidence and helped me overcome barriers to learning, particularly Ann Harwood, who went above and beyond to make sure lessons were suitable for blind students and that I didn’t fall behind with any work.

“Sadly, Ann has since passed away, but she was a big influence on me and I can’t thank her enough. The College even provided a support network for me when I left to go to University.”

Saima was presented with The John Roberts Outstanding Achievement Award 2020 at the One Voice Annual Dinner on Saturday 22 February.

The dinner, which has now taken place for eight years, celebrates the work of One Voice Blackburn, as well as volunteers and community workers in Blackburn with Darwen.

The College’s next Open Event is Wednesday 17th June from 4:30pm to 8pm across the entire campus and prospective students are encouraged to attend.

To find out more about Blackburn College, the University Centre at Blackburn College and all the courses available, please visit

12 Mar 2020, 10:40 AM