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.

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One Big Multicultural Festival

Suffolk Pita Festival is a big success

2018 pita festival

Ipswich Star article

A cultural exhibition event, held at Suffolk New College from midday to 4pm on Sunday, with traditional delicacies available to sample.

The festival centres around a pita competition, with judges poring over the South Asian sweet and savoury snacks.

There was also traditional food and jewellery stalls, henna art, children’s entertainment, and the BSC’s educational awards which recognises the achievements of those who have supported the centre.

Mohammed Allam, joint BSC manager, said: “It was fantastic. We were slightly concerned that with a few other events and an England game, that people wouldn’t show up but we didn’t need to worry.

“It was buzzing, around 500 people came along to enjoy the event. We had information stalls, charity fundraising stalls and of course the pita competition.”

Launched 20 years ago by volunteers, the BSC strives to support people in the Bangladeshi and other black and minority ethnic (BME) communities in Suffolk and engage them in social, cultural, educational and recreational activities.

Mr Allam said: “Everything we do is about bringing the community together.

“It’s about learning about other people’s culture and treating each other with respect to build a cohesive community.

“That underlines everything we do.”

The organisation provides a number of capacity building programmes for local communities, a resource and learning centre and key referral advice agency. The BSC also works closely with statutory and voluntary organisation partners on projects related to health, education, employment, housing, welfare rights and crime.

The centre runs a homework club for students aged 11-18 at Northgate High School in term time as well as a sports club at Northgate Sports Centre for children and families to take part in activities.

Mr Allam added: “A lot of violence that you see is mainly to do with young people, who have nowhere to go.”

“One of the things we do is run clubs to support the young people and it’s about raising aspirations and educating them to do positive things in their community.”

Our photo gallery of the event

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 www.bscsuffolk.org.uk or the University of Suffolk www.uos.ac.uk/business