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Mayor of London At The Asian Voice Charity Awards

Last month Asian Voice newspaper held its annual Charity Awards at the Hilton, Park Lane, which is in its fourth year. The media title co-hosts these Awards with Charity Clarity, where together they actively support organisations seeking to solve social issues within Britain and globally.

The Awards showcase excellence; shining a spotlight on charities struggling to get the profile and/or funding that they need to move forward.

This year the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan was the chief guest and spoke about London’s great diversity, which is the Capital’s strength. The theme of this year’s awards was focused on combating knife crime, an issue that has dominated the Mayor’s agenda, who awarded the Editor’s Choice Award to the Damilola Taylor Trust, who provides inner-city youths in Britain with opportunities to play and learn, free from fear and violence.

The Mayor touched upon the serious issue of increasing knife crimes in London and how charities play a big role in tackling these violent crimes. He said, “While I am convinced London is the best city in the world, I am also not blind to the reality of the problems of this city and charities have an important role to play in filling in the gaps in the social safety net in recent years. Violent crime is on the rise across the country, including in London. As Mayor, I am determined to lead from the front when it comes to tackling this issue.”

The Charity of the Year award went to Watford-based Paul Strickland Scanner Centre, an independent medical charity working to improve the lives of people affected by cancer and other severe medical conditions. The Social Impact Award was presented to Child Rescue Nepal, which works on the ground to free children from slavery and captivity. While the Most Enterprising Award went to Medical Aid Films; it brings together health experts with filmmakers. Leah Chowdhry was named the Most Inspiring Young Person for becoming the first British Asian woman to swim the English Channel to raise funds to combat child trafficking in India.

The Sarvam Trust, which facilitates and supports the work of the Sri Aurobindo Society to help the under-privileged in rural areas of India, was the winner of the Audience Choice Award.

The Outstanding PR Award went to the Oscar Foundation, who encourage leadership, teamwork and education in schools to help prevent young people from dropping out.

Former journalist Rupert Morris moderated a discussion with an eminent panel who were – philanthropist Lord Rumi Verjee CBE; BAFTA winner Dr Carrie Grant; founder of The Media Trust Caroline Diehl MBE; and Andy Cook, CEO of the Centre for Social Justice. Together they shared their motivations for giving and civic engagement; emphasizing the importance of charity.

I was pleased to have been able to support this occasion by helping to put the above panel together and invite some of the high-profile guests who attended, who also presented the awards. It was an inspiring event and leave you this last thought from Lord Verjee who said on the night, “I am an immigrant in this country. We strive to be successful, and it is natural to give back to the society. In my life what I have realised is the more you give, the more you get back.”

 

Indiaaaaaah!!

The last time I was back in Delhi was a year ago and each time I arrive back in the city, I notice how much it has changed. It’s a place that is continuously growing with new buildings, new suburbs and new brands. It’s a hub of activity and while I was there, numerous international conferences and events were taking place.

Delhi is a place that I used to know and a place that I love. It has something called the Delhi vibe, wrapped up in its own special smell of heat and dust…and so, it was here that I found on 27 April, where I stayed till 2 May. As I was fortunate to be invited to speak at two different events – the first was at the India CSR conference on CSR and Leadership, and the other was the Women’s Economic Forum (WEF) where I spoke about the power of networking, PR and social media.

At both events I was honoured to receive two different awards, but both awards acknowledging my work, for which I am very grateful.

The first accolade was the India CSR Author’s award and I have been writing on this topic globally for more than seven years…working on this topic since the 90’s. The WEF award was for an ‘Exceptional Woman of Excellence’ in my field.

Delhi is alive, vibrant and there are huge opportunities right now for doing business, collaboration, networking and creating new ideas.

On this trip to Delhi, I also took my client, LID Publishing who publishes business books, as they are keen to explore the Indian market. It was important for them to experience India, see how it operates and breathes, and of course for me to make them a few strong introductions.

And I too was making connections for my next business venture, which is an Indian British Trade Expo taking place here in London in November, which is being supported by the House of Lords. I am proud to say that Serendipity PR is one of the media sponsors for this event.

I shall leave you with this last thought – India is set to become the third largest economy in the world.

 

 

Serendipity PR & The National Curry Awards

I have been working on the media campaign, which involved writing all the main speeches and brochure copy for the 12th Annual National Curry Awards for best Chef and Restaurant of the Year, hosted by the Bangladesh Caterers Association (BCA), which took place on 19 November in Central London at the Park Plaza Hotel Westminster.

BCA is a fascinating organisation that has been going since 1960, representing over 12,000 restaurants across the UK and contributing a whopping £4.2 billion to the economy. As aside the late former foreign secretary Robin Cook, in 2001, gave the seminal “chicken tikka masala speech where he said that ‘chicken tikka masala’ is now Britain’s true national dish.

The evening was co-hosted by celebrities Tasmin Lucia Khan and Alexis Conran. Over 1,200 attended, which included dignitaries, Parliamentarians and high-profile individuals. The evening was glitzy, glamorous affair where strong speeches were made to draw attention to the plight of Britain’s curry industry, which is in a crisis due to the shortage of skilled chefs. The British curry sector is going through one of its most critical periods in its history, where at least three to four restaurants are closing a week, while there are challenges for new curry houses who have had their openings delayed because they can’t find the chefs.

This year’s theme was – BCA: Sourcing Britain’s Love for Curry Since 1960, which I came up with, as BCA wanted a strong strapline to reflect these uncertain and difficult times. A strapline that said something about its history, cultural relevance here in Britain and about the food it creates. They also wanted a strapline that they could be proud of and think we got it just right!

BCA’s Chefs and Restaurants are the source of British curry in local areas, where they are helping high-streets thrive and most of all are continuously evolving the story of British curry.

I believe there is so much authentic passion in food; it is a form of cultural self-expression, as much as it is about social identity and nutrition. Food is a tool of economic regeneration and cooking has the power to transform society because it touches everything: education, the environment, entrepreneurship, cultural identity, agriculture and trade. But more importantly food brings people together. These BCA Awards reinforces this premise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serendipity PR’s Award & Recognition At The Women’s Economic Forum, Delhi

 

I have just returned from an incredible time in Delhi, India where I attended the Women’s Economic Forum as a speaker, this May. It was a privilege to be able to speak in one of my home countries and I am also honored to have been recognized by the Women Economic Forum and All Ladies League as an ‘Iconic Woman Creating Change for a Better World For ALL’.
The members of my Media and Entertainment Advisory Council were also recognized, but for me, this award was a recognition of the great work we are doing at Serendipity PR & Media.

 

There were over 2,000 delegates from 150 countries. It was a colourful, powerful and joyful event with great speakers – Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty; yoga master Baba Ramdev; acid survivor and activist Laxmi; Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati an inspirational spiritual social worker – all making positive changes in India, and so many more other great names.

 

It would be amiss of me not to mention Dr. Habeen Aurora and her husband Vinay Rai who for their visionary work on behalf of women’s empowerment, global citizenship and peace. They are a wonderful power couple behind the Forum.
My experience at this week long conference was made all the more special when I saw and experienced so many Indian women entrepreneurs of different ages with a voice; they interacted, interrupted and were full of fun in all the sessions. I wish these women were there when I lived in India in the 80’s, as I may have just stayed on in India! I also met many India female social entrepreneurs, working to empower other women in rural India.

 

But this story would not be complete without a little bit of serendipity – on the Thursday evening of the conference, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati somehow randomly sat at my table. I have always been inspired by Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati’s story. How she sat at my table, was a small miracle. There were so many tables…our table wasn’t even close to the stage, but she sat there waiting to be called as a speaker. I plucked up courage and spoke to her, we connected and I am due to do a story with her, so watch this space.

 

This year I really wanted an adventure and I had one…