Suffolk celebrates its local heroes at the High Sheriff’s Awards 2019

award ceremony

On 28 March Suffolk Community Foundation were joined by charities and community groups from all over Suffolk, along with supporters and sponsors for the High Sheriff’s Awards – a prestigious annual event that publicly recognises these groups, along with individuals (many of whom are volunteers) for their contribution in making Suffolk a safer, better and more inclusive place to live.

In partnership with Suffolk Community Foundation, The High Sheriff, George Vestey, held this year’s High Sheriff’s Awards for Suffolk at Wherstead Park, courtesy of the East of England Cooperative Society.

After a glass of fizz and the chance to catch up over a deliciously gooey brownie or two, guests were ushered to their seats while West Suffolk Youth Jazz played a jazz medley in the background. An excited buzz filled the air as the High Sheriff of Suffolk George Vestey took to the stage to warmly welcome everyone and introduce the hosts for the evening – BBC Radio Suffolk’s Lesley Dolphin and Suffolk Community Foundation’s very own Tim Holder!

Before the awards ceremony could begin, there was some very important news to share. The Suffolk Medal has now been launched, and guests were treated to an exclusive screening of the new film, which explains the reasoning behind this most prestigious award, as well as sharing some charming anecdotes from Maggi Hambling, the renowned Suffolk artist who has designed the medal.

award details

The fifth award of the evening was the Suffolk Voluntary Organisation of the Year Award – Inspiring Young People, won by The Bangladeshi Support Centre. This award was kindly sponsored by Shout About Suffolk, and Co-Founder Paddy Bishopp joined the High Sheriff on stage to present the award.

For full details see this article on the Suffolk Community Foundation site.

group photo

Invitation to Lunch

Birketts, Ipswich

Today we were invited to attend a joint business charity lunch by the High Sheriff Mr George Vestey DL hosted at Birketts by Jonathan Agar, Chief Executive Officer of Birketts. The High Sheriff spoke of the importance of local businesses supporting the charity sector.

George Vestey at our offices

The High Sheriff at our offices last December

100 Inspirational Women in Suffolk

100 inspirational women in Suffolk

This is a list that Suffolk should be proud of – 100 women who are positive role models for future generations, women who have achieved success in a diverse range of fields from business, the arts, sport and education to the third sector.

The list was put together by a panel of judges this summer following nominations from East Anglian Daily Times readers.

From the 100

Shayra Begum, Bangladeshi Support Centre, Ipswich: Shayra, manager of Ipswich’s Bangladeshi Support Centre, came to England in 1975, aged six, from Bangladesh with her mother to join her father who had settled in Ipswich. Shayra, now mother to four grown-up children herself, has always lived in the town and says nowhere else compares. By the age of seven or eight she says she was already involved in helping the Bangladeshi community by interpreting at GP surgeries, hospitals, Inland Revenue, and the Benefits Office as only a handful spoke English at the time. Shayra says she has had various roles supporting the local Bangladeshi community and she has worked for the BSC since 2004 in various roles. BSC is a voluntary organisation supporting people of around 40 different nationalities. “I have worked on various projects over the years,” Shayra says, “as well as a general adviser providing advice, support and guidance on a whole range of issues including domestic violence issues, benefits, housing, and Immigration. I also deliver various training such as in cultural awareness to service providers.“I enjoy the challenges of event management and manage events for BSC such as the Suffolk Pita Festival and the One Big Multicultural Festival that brings in thousands of people from Suffolk and beyond to enjoy music and food from around the world, with an aim to create a better understanding between the diverse communities of Suffolk. “I am a trustee for the Disabled Advice Bureau and also volunteer for the Ipswich and Suffolk Muslim Council where I help to put on events to create better understanding of the Muslim faith and help out at its monthly Feed the Homeless project.”

EADT Article

Suffolk’s diversity to be celebrated at the One Big Multicultural Festival

One Big Multicultural Festival Launch 2018

East Anglian Daily Times article

The first details of this year’s One Big Multicultural Festival in Suffolk have been revealed.

The free event, which celebrates the county’s diversity and promotes bringing communities together, will take place on September 2 in Alexandra Park, Ipswich.

In previous years, it has attracted crowds of up to 8,000 – and this year it is expected to be the best yet.

Organised by the Bangladeshi Support Centre and backed by the Arts Council, the event is now in its eighth year.

Boshor Ali, chairman of the Bangladeshi Support Centre, said: “It’s getting bigger and better and stronger.

“It is important to include everybody and celebrate the different cultures we have.”

He added: “We are trying to get different things on board this year. We have two or three international performers.”

He also praised the passion and dedication of the organisations involved.

Food and drink from international cuisines plus a range of activities for all the family will be on offer throughout the day.

BBC Radio Suffolk presenter Wayne Bavin will be hosting this year’s event.

There will also be a fantastic selection of live music from around the world – this year, that will include top musicians from West Africa – as well as dance, and sports on offer.

Ipswich Borough Council has supported the event since its inception. Council leader David Ellesmere spoke at the launch, held in Alexandra Park this week, about the importance of the event and reflected on its huge success.

Meanwhile, Shayra Begum, from the Bangladeshi Support Centre, said: “We need something that brings people together.

“We are all just people, and we need to get that message out to young people.”

Organisers say everyone is invited to the festival – with guest numbers expected to top 8,000. The action starts at noon and finishes at around 6pm.

While the event is in Ipswich, organisers say it is very much a festival for the whole of Suffolk.

There will also be free stalls to communities who want to promote and highlight their heritage and culture.

If you are interested in setting up one of those, email email hidden; JavaScript is required

One Big Multicultural Festival

Could you be a winner in the Suffolk BME Business Awards?

from: Ipswich Star 4 Jun 2018

Launch of BME Business Award 2018

The annual BME Business awards – which celebrate the massive contribution that the BME – black and minority ethnic businesses make to Ipswich and Suffolk, are back.

Could you, or your Suffolk business, be an award winner this time?

Yesterday organisers and sponsors gathered at the University of Suffolk to launch the 2018 campaign, in order to encourage people from the wider business community to nomimate themselves, or encourage others who are in business locally, to enter for the 2018 awards.

The annual event is the coming together of a wide business community with a rich heritage of cultural diversity, and is hosted at the University of Suffolk, Waterfront building in Ipswich.

The event, organised by the Bangladeshi Support Centre and the University of Suffolk will take place on Wednesday October 24, 2018 at the university.

Now in its third year, the event showcases the contribution of Suffolk’s growing Black Ethnic Minority (BME) communities to the local economy.

The awards night itself is a celebration of community and co-operation as well as diversity.

There are hundreds of BME businesses in Suffolk, both large and small, and they employ thousands of people across different sectors including telecommunications, finance, IT, property development and catering, and also the charity sector.

Boshor Ali chair of BSC said, “We are delighted this event is back on and will help raise awareness of BME people’s contribution to the economy of Suffolk.

“These businesses provide much-needed services locally and contribute millions of pounds to our economy. It is important to celebrate their achievements especially in the post-Brexit context.”

Dr Will Thomas, associate professor at the University of Suffolk, said, “Once again we are pleased to be working in partnership with BSC in highlighting the positive contribution that minority communities make to our economy. This is an important event and needed in the current climate.”

David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said this was an important event in the calender.

The borough council is among the sponsors.

He said: “We are delighted to be involved again. It is a really good showcase for the contribution the BME community are making to the Suffolk economy.

“They are a vibrant part of the Ipswich community. What is amazing is that each time we are finding businesses which are doing great things, providing jobs and incomes for people and really contributing to the life of Ipswich.”

Entries are now invited for the 2018 BME Suffolk Business Awards.

Businesses are encouraged to nominate themselves for the seven available awards including a Special Judges Award selected by an independent panel of judges on merit.

For further information about the awards contact Bangladeshi Support Centre on 07932 644466 or see or the University of Suffolk

Suffolk High Sheriff

The following picture is from the facebook page of the Suffolk High Sheriff:

Mohammed and Tina with High Sheriff

February 27th. With Mohammed ‘Shahin’ & Tina Ali at the Bangladeshi Support Centre who do fantastic work supporting the Bengali community & people of forty other nationalities on educational attainment & all manner of everyday problems. They also run the Multicultural Festival & lots of other family fun events. Long may the Centre flourish!

Suffolk BME Business Awards 2017

University of Suffolk & Bangladeshi Support Centre Working in Partnership

We are pleased to announce that nominations are now open for the Suffolk BME
Business Awards 2017. The awards aim to celebrate the diversity of businesses
originating in the BME communities of Suffolk.

Award categories

  • Business of the Year
  • Businessperson of the Year
  • Startup/New Business of the Year
  • Community Business of the Year
  • Woman Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Charity of the Year
  • Judges Special Award

How to nominate
To nominate a business or person for any of the categories download a nomination form from: or

Complete and return:

Bangladeshi Support Centre, 19 Tower Street, Ipswich, IP1 3BE
Email: email hidden; JavaScript is required
Nomination closing date: Saturday 30 September 2017.

An evening of celebration will be held on Wednesday 25 October 2017, 6.30pm
at University of Suffolk, Waterfront Building, Ipswich, IP4 1QJ

Suffolk BME Business Awards

Suffolk BME Business Awards

Nomination form

1 Big Multicultural Festival 2017

The 1 Big Multicultural Festival for 2017 will take place this year on Sunday 27 August, from noon until 6pm. This is a free family event with live music and dance from around the world. The is one big family event to bring our communities together and it takes place, as usual, at Alexander Park, Ipswich, IP4 1NY.

One Big Multicultural Festival flyer 2017