Headshot of alumni Faz Ahmad

Read about alumni brothers, Faz and Jaf Ahmed, and the Akash Restaurant they run in Southsea

  • 30 March 2020
  • 3 min read

It’s an unsettling time. We’re isolating, working remotely or unable to work at all. We’re adjusting to new lifestyles, savouring our daily hour outside and panicking a little over what’s in the cupboards.

All the while, there are members of our community out there making a difference. NHS staff, for example, are protecting and even saving lives, whilst putting their own health at risk.

University of Portsmouth alumni and brothers, Faz and Jaf Ahmed run Akash Restaurant in Southsea, Portsmouth. On Mother’s Day, the restaurant took a trip to Queen Alexandra Hospital to deliver dinner to thirty delighted nurses who had been selflessly working through the weekend.

Faz works full-time at the family business and is also a Global Brand Ambassador for the University, helping to bridge better relationships between Bangladesh and Portsmouth.

We spoke with Faz about this act of kindness and the implications COVID-19 is having on the family business.

The current situation has really affected us and we’re experiencing a drop in business. We are doing what we can and currently still offering takeaways and deliveries as normal.

Everyone is in a tricky situation, especially financially, as we are living in uncertainty of what the future holds; but, we felt as long as we have the basic needs including food and water, we needed to be doing more. I kept thinking about the NHS staff who are risking their lives every day and thought ‘what can we do to lift their morale?

I have a friend who works at Queen Alexandra Hospital and asked her how the nurses are getting on within her department. She said they’d been working for twelve hours and felt exhausted.

We decided to provide curries, rice and poppadoms for the department. When we arrived, they seemed very tired, a lot were finishing for the night and we were able to provide dinner for them. We have received great feedback from the nurses, who were extremely grateful. We’ve received hundreds of messages on social media from the public thanking us too, it‘s been really heartwarming.

The Akash restaurant is still offering takeaway and delivery but has implemented additional health and safety measures. You can pay by card over the telephone and they will drop your food to your doorstep, making it a fully contactless experience.

If you live locally and would like to help support a fellow alumni in these challenging times, visit The Akash restaurant website for full menus and contact details.