A FORMER Syrian rescue worker has won a national volunteer award for helping redistribute food in Sussex.

Hasan Hazeema was presented with the Warehouse Assistant of the Year Award at the FareShare Volunteer Awards on Monday, September 20.

The annual awards ceremony celebrates the hard work and dedication to helping others through the food distribution charity.

Hasan previously worked as a White Helmet rescue worker in Syria, where he predominantly helped fight fires, before moving to Brighton.

The White Helmets, officially known as the Syria Civil Defence, is made up of around 3,000 volunteers across Syria.

The group, which has been operating since 2013, first got together to search for people trapped under the rubble after airstrikes.

Since moving to the UK, Hasan now dedicates his spare time to FareShare Sussex, based in Brighton.

Hasan began volunteering for the food redistribution charity in 2019.

He said he made the decision to join as he enjoys helping others and saw it as a good opportunity to practice his English language skills.

“Everyone is very lovely, and the staff and managers are very helpful and nice,” he said.

Since joining FareShare, Hasan has completed forklift training and says he hopes to improve his English to a level where he can support the local fire service in Brighton.

Hasan shared the Warehouse Assistant of the Year Award with a volunteer from FareShare Southern Central.

The awards ceremony took place virtually, hosted by FareShare commercial director Alyson Walsh.

“Words can’t express how much volunteers have helped us during the pandemic,” Alyson said.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the support of all our volunteers and hope they find their experience rewarding by knowing their hard work helps local people whilst saving food from waste.”

During 2020/21, FareShare’s network redistributed more than 55,000 tonnes of food to people at risk of hunger. That’s the equivalent of nearly 132 million meals, or four meals every second.

FareShare Sussex, operated in partnership with City Gate Community Projects, is part of the UK-wide FareShare network of charitable food redistributors, made up of 17 independent organisations.