Press Release 3.03.2019:
Harrow and Brent United Deaf Club’s 10th Anniversary, at Conference Hall, Brent Civic Centre, on Saturday 2nd March 2019
There were lots of delights, colourful and laughter at Harrow & Brent United Deaf Club’s special 10th Anniversary Celebration, which was kick-off at The Conference Hall, Brent Civic Centre, next to a well-known landmark – Wembley Park Stadium, with 150 people in attendance to their prestigious event on Saturday 2nd March 2019.
The Club were honoured to have the event opened by the Honourable Councillor Arshad Mahmood, The Mayor of Brent; Mei Sim Lai OBE, Deputy Lieutenant for Brent; Barry Gardiner MP, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade & Shadow Minister for International Climate Change; Councillor Pervez Ahmed, Former Mayor of Brent (2017); Councillor Krupesh Hirani, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Culture and Leisure; and Councillor Ernest Ezeajughi, Deputy Mayor.
Much to the delight of our attendees, there were a double delicious surprise in store, with two Celebration Cakes. One of the cake was made by Hasnain Somji of Caketastic, a loyal supporter of the Club and previously did special cake for the Club’s 5th Anniversary and the Club’s celebration of Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday. The second cake together with mini cakes was kindly donated by The Polish Bakery, in support of the Harrow & Brent United Deaf Club. Both of them were awarded with a framed Certificate of Appreciation each, by Councillor Arshad Mahmood, Mayor of Brent, with Mei Sim Lai OBE, Deputy Lieutenant for Brent and Councillor Krupesh Hirani, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Culture and Leisure.
The event was hosted by Asif Iqbal, President of Harrow and Brent United Deaf Club. In his opening speech, he said:
“Welcome Harrow and Brent United Deaf Club 10th Anniversary Celebration. The deaf club is open to all especially deaf, hearing, all faiths and LGBT to integrated become strong diversity community and provide to support deaf community to lead deaf people lives and more deaf leaders to show positive role model to our diversity society.”
“In the 10 years of the Club, we are proud to have so many wonderful people coming through our door, enjoyed so many of our successful events including:
- International Women Day
- Fight for Your Right – BSL & LGBT
- Inspiring Youth
- Diamond Jubilee Celebration
- London Olympic 2012 celebration
- Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th Birthday celebration
- London’s New Year Parade where our Club was part of the float.
- Deaf Awareness Day, Harrow Council
- BSL Charter Signing ceremony at Harrow Council during British Deaf Association’s 125 years celebration
- Eid, Diwali, Easter, Christmas, Passover, Chinese New Year and other festivals – celebrating our cultures and diversity.”
- Asif ended with a huge thanks to Brent Council: “We couldn’t have made it today without the support of Brent Council with the grant for the event."
The Mayor of Brent, Councillor Arshad Mahmood addressed the audience to mark the celebration: “I am pleased to be here, sharing the special day with you. Thank you to Asif iqbal, President of Harrow and Brent United Deaf Club for inviting me to open this special occasion of the Deaf Club’s 10th Anniversary Celebration. The Deaf Club are well-known for their work, bringing deaf and hearing communities together every month and this is a perfect opportunity to celebrate Harrow and Brent United Deaf Club’s 10th Anniversary.”
The Mayor explained, together with our fantastic programme of the evening including sign song performances and special guest speakers including Brent Culture 2020, “I hope the Brent Culture 2020 will be fully accessible for our deaf residents including the provision of BSL interpreters and engaging with Deaf Community to be part of the celebration e.g having deaf people as performers”.
The Mayor added: “Whilst we are here, I wanted to say how valued you all especially deaf residents. It is important for you [deaf residents of Brent] to be part of our diverse communities and I recognise that BSL (British Sign Language) is a beautiful language to communicate with each other and how important for us to access to information and services in our preferred language."
“For example, my first language with my family is Urdu and English so I can empathy the barriers that deaf people face if no access is being provided. So for that reason, I am so pleased that my honourable friend Dawn Butler MP was the first MP to raise a question in BSL at House of Common in May 2017, asking the Government for BSL to have a legal status. She continued to work closely with Asif Iqbal,
President of this club in their fight for a BSL Act and raising awareness within the society.”
The Mayor closed his speech with a key message about the BSL Charter, ”… I wanted to mention that Harrow & Brent United Deaf Club have been working closely with Brent Council to look at signing up to a BSL Charter, raising awareness as part of the Deaf Awareness Week May 2017 and being involved with the Brent Culture 2020. It is crucial for Brent Council to have your views on what works well and what areas is in need of improvement, we value your feedback and I hope we will work together more. Many congratulation to Harrow & Brent United Deaf Club for reaching their 10th Anniversary and wishing them many more years to come."
Mei Sim Lai OBE, Deputy Lieutenant for Brent, who have been supportive of our work and was involved in our previous events – International Women Day; Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration; and our Brent Deaf Awareness Week 2017, gave a short speech to mark the special occasion and congratulated the Deaf Club for reaching 10 years anniversary.
A final speech by Barry Gardiner MP, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade & Shadow Minister for International Climate Change, shared his experiences of growing up with family members who are deaf and use lipreading. He regretted that he didn’t learn to sign but because of his role as local MP, he is keen to learn BSL to engage with deaf residents in his constituency.
There was a discussion regarding BSL Act and at that point, everyone in the audiences called for Barry Gardiner MP to take forward an action regarding the BSL Act for England, given that Scotland got their own BSL Act in September 2015 and Ireland in December 2017 and many European countries have their own Sign Language Act. Barry agreed to request to the Prime Minister, requesting for an update on BSL Act England and to agree a way forward.
From there, a fantastic Gospel Sign Song performance by Georgina Atori, “The Power of Love”, everyone was moved by her performance. Georgina explained that the song was about her dedication and thanks to her heavenly father for “changing my life".
Asif then gave a warm welcome to Simon Hesselberg, a well-known deaf leader in the Deaf community for his previous work as a Community Services Officer for Brent Deaf People Group, much to the delights of many Brent Deaf Residents in the audiences with fond memories of Brent Deaf People Group. Here, Simon explained briefly about his experiences of working with local deaf residents in Brent and working closely with Brent Deaf Club (who was previously chaired by Sammi Peynado, and was in the audience). Simon added: “I am so pleased to see Harrow and Brent being United, working together to become one Club, providing one voice to deaf residents of two London Borough and congratulation to HBUDC on achieving their 10th Anniversary”.
A final guest speaker was Titania Altius, Community Engagement Manager, Brent Culture 2020 Team who gave a brief presentation about Brent Culture 2020, what it means and how local deaf residents can be involved in our celebration in 2020.
The evening rounded off with a special surprise guest – Honey Kalaria providing an interactive Bollywood style dance workshop.
Honey is well-known international artist and works as a Bollywood Ambassador to the UK and a Performing Arts Consultant.
As a Dancer, choreographer and Bollywood Specialist, Honey has been involved in Bombay Dreams, Merchants of Bollywood and Bride and Prejudice, with TV appearances on Bollywood Star, Ruby Wax, This Morning, Top of the Pops, Bump and Grind, Blue Peter, Jamie Oliver and MTV’s Bust a Move.
She has worked alongside many celebrities including Gareth Gates, Beyonce, Craig David and Bollywood international stars – Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai.
Just before the evening ended with a Bollwood style dance workshop, there was a special cake cutting ceremony with two Celebration Cakes, and a group photo was taken of all Committee Members, together with Mayor of Brent, Councillor Arshad Mahmood, Mayor, Mei Sim Lai OBE, Deputy Lieutenant for Brent; Barry Gardiner MP and Honey Kalaria, cutting the cake.
The audiences then took part of a fun workshop, learning about how to dance Bollywood style and were entered into a fun competition to become Harrow & Brent United Deaf Club’s Bollywood Dance Champion. It was independently judged by Asif Iqbal, Penny Beshizza, Kevin Buckle and Jacqueline Blake.
Everyone took part including our special guests, Mei Sim, Barry Gardiner MP, it took a couple of rounds by the judges, to shortlists the remaining candidates to the semi-final. The next round, three finalists was announced – Barry Gardiner MP; Ahmed Mudawi, Specialist Team Leader of Brent’s Looking Ahead (supported housing) and a female audience member. It was a intense competition, with lots of sweats and hard work to fight for the title as Champion before a winner was announced.
Ahmed Mudawi was ‘crowned’ as Harrow and Brent United Deaf Club Bollwood Dancer Champion and was given a large box of chocolate as a prize! (see attached animoto clip of the dance workshop by clicking here)
Asif gave a round of thanks to everyone involved in making the even a great success and memorable.