Six women share top prize at celebration of Suffolk’s unsung heroes

our award

It was a night to remember at this year’s High Sheriff Awards – as one prize was shared by no fewer than six inspiring women for the first time in the event’s history.

The winners of the High Sheriff Awards 2019 were revealed at a glittering ceremony this evening, with inspiring people from across the county celebrated for their selfless contribution to society.

George Vestey, High Sheriff of Suffolk, said the standard of entries was “quite extraordinary” – spoiling the judges to such an extent that, in one case, they chose to split an award between six worthy nominees.

A total of nine High Sheriff Awards were presented, and the new Suffolk Medal was launched, at the ceremony hosted by BBC Radio Suffolk’s Lesley Dolphin and Tim Holder, from Suffolk Community Foundation, at Wherstead Park on Thursday evening.

The winners included six outstanding women who were nominated as Inspiring Leaders: Fiona Ellis from Survivors in Transition, Tara Somers from Homestart, Ann Osborn from The Coffee Caravan, Maureen Reynel from FIND Families in Need, Emma Ratzer from Access Community Trust, and Rebecca Crerar from Suffolk Refugee Support.

In a first for the High Sheriff Awards, the judging panel felt they could not choose between the nominees – so elected to split the prize six ways.

Other winners included a young arts trustee, a young people’s project based at an army base, and a doctor who started the accident rescue service in Suffolk.

Mr Vestey, whose year-long term as High Sheriff ends this month, said: “Last night was an incredible ceremony, with so many great stories about what our amazing volunteers are doing to provide vital support their communities.

“The standard of entries was quite extraordinary this year so to pick winners was really difficult. That said we had nine outstanding category winners who can be justifiably proud of their achievement.”

Stephen Singleton, chief executive of Suffolk Community Foundation, added: “Another wonderful Suffolk celebration of all the great work that our local charities and community groups do to change local lives.

“It was particularly great to hear ‘partnerships’ be discussed and rewarded. Team Suffolk working together for the common good.”

Those attending the awards ceremony also saw the launch of the latest scheme designed to celebrate the work of those in the voluntary sector.

The Suffolk Medal, designed by world-famous Suffolk artist Maggie Hambling, is the brainchild of George Vestey, and will be awarded to the first recipients on Suffolk Day on June 21, 2019.

High Sheriff Awards 2019, winners:

  • Suffolk Inspiring Leader Award: Fiona Ellis (Survivors in Transition), Tara Somers (Homestart), Ann Osborn (The Coffee Caravan), Maureen Reynel (FIND Families in Need), Emma Ratzer (Access Community Trust), and Rebecca Crerar (Suffolk Refugee Support)
  • Suffolk Volunteer of the Year Award (25 years and over): Gillian Brough
  • Suffolk Young Volunteer of the Year Award (up to 25 years of age): Chloe Pearson
  • Suffolk Collaborative Partnership Award: East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT)
  • Suffolk Voluntary Organisation of the Year Award: Rebuilding Broken Lives: YMCA Trinity Group
  • Suffolk Voluntary Organisation of the Year Award: Inspiring young people: The Bangladeshi Support Centre
  • Suffolk Strengthen Your Community Award: Operation Camouflage
  • Suffolk Voluntary Health Care Award: Livability Icanho
  • Suffolk Emergency and Armed Services Volunteers Award: Dr Jeremy Mauger

The following organisations also received grants from the High Sheriff’s Fund:

  • Bury St Edmunds Women’s Aid Centre
  • Bury Town Pastors
  • Catch 22
  • Home-Start Mid & West Suffolk
  • Porch Project
  • Sporting 87 Football Club
  • Suffolk Rape Crisis
  • The Mix Stowmarket
  • Voices 4 Gainsborough Community Library

Article from EADT – original here.

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