This blog contains references to topics that some readers may find distressing.

The Amazon Star programme is a UK-wide campaign to thank Amazon employees who make an outstanding contribution to their community through volunteering, fundraising, and using their unique skills and talents to help others.

Amazon Stars winner, Aizaz Hussain from Amazon's Croydon Delivery Station
Amazon Stars winner, Aizaz Hussain from Amazon's Croydon Delivery Station

The first winner of the 2021 Amazon Stars award is Aizaz Hussain, an area manager at the Amazon delivery station in Croydon. In his spare time, Aizaz is a poet and spoken word artist, performing at different venues around the UK.

Aizaz was inspired to get involved in poetry following a period of personal struggle. He tried to take his own life, and the suicide note that he wrote was a poem that ended up going viral around the world.

Inspired by the power of his poem, Aizaz now dedicates his time and his art to helping people with mental health struggles and works with different charities locally to volunteer his time. He’s also studying for the Amazon Mental Health Leadership apprenticeship, is a sustainability ambassador, and is on the Black Employee Network affinity group board.

In recognition of his efforts in championing mental health both in the community and at Amazon, Aizaz was awarded with a personalised Dream Box as a token of thanks. His prize included a £1,000 to the Croydon and Sutton branch of the Samaritans, and a £1,000 travel voucher for him and a friend to see the Northern Lights in Iceland - which he said was on his bucket list.

Aizaz said: “I can’t believe I’ve won an Amazon Stars award. I’m speechless. My poetry is centred on issues that I, and people like me, face. I think the reason why it connects with so many people is because it helps them gain some perspective on their own mental health. It’s great to get this recognition from my colleagues but best of all is the £1,000 donation, which is for a charity that’s really close to my heart. I’m so pleased they’re able to receive this support.”

Aizaz with his colleagues at Amazon's Croydon Delivery Station
Aizaz with his colleagues at Amazon's Croydon Delivery Station

Helen Goldsmith, Branch Director Samaritans of Croydon and Sutton, said: “On behalf of all of us at Samaritans of Croydon and Sutton, I would like to say a huge thank you to Aizaz for nominating our branch to receive his £1,000 donation to charity as part of his Amazon Stars award. Samaritans' vision is that fewer people die by suicide and every day volunteers respond to around 10,000 calls for help. Aizaz’s donation means that our branch will be able to train more volunteers to be there for anyone struggling to cope.”

Amazon Croydon Delivery Station Manager, Justin Jones, added: “Aizaz’s contribution to our community is inspiring and we’re so proud that one of this year’s Amazon Stars winners is part of our team at Amazon in Croydon. We want to shine a light on his impact on our community and it’s an honour to present him with this fantastic prize.”

Over the past two years, Amazon employees in our UK operations network have been doing exceptional work to deliver for our customers during the pandemic. Many of them have been combining their great work at Amazon with serving their communities through volunteering their time, raising funds and much more.

To recognise and reward our heroes who have helped others, we established an Amazon Stars programme in 2020, calling on our employees to nominate their colleagues who have gone above and beyond for others.

Almost 1,000 nominations were received in the UK this year, with inspiring stories of employees serving colleagues, customers and communities during a time when they were needed more than ever. Aizaz is one of three winners, and we’ll meet the other two winners over the coming weeks.

If you or someone close to you is struggling, please reach out to the Samaritans or call their free hotline on 116 123.