The Community Sponsorship Awards celebrates special achievements, but it is not really about the winners. Rather it is an opportunity to bring the sponsorship family together for mutual celebration of this wonderful scheme to welcome refugees to the UK.
The event was held at Canada House on Trafalgar Square. Our host was the Canadian High Commmissioner Her Excellency Janice Charette seen here with the organiser of the event, Sponsor Refugee’s Bekele Woyecha, resplendent in Ethiopian national dress.
Someone has to win in each category, but the spirit of the event was typified by Eva Jonsson’s delighted reaction when Alaa Khattab won the Champion Award, for which Eva was nominated.
Behind every Young Champion are supportive friends and parents. Bea Forrester, still just 21, but the founder of two Community Sponsorship Groups, won this category and afterwards got a hug from her mum, Nicky Chambers.
We were pleased to welcome senior parliamentarians to the event. Here is Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, taking the chance to catch up on news from members of the Whitechapel Welcomes group.
And one the staunchest champions of Community Sponsorship, Helen Hayes MP, presented an award and was given flowers afterwards by little Nour, daughter of the co-host for the evening, Hani Arnaout.
Perhaps Nour’s little sister, one year old Mary, will enjoy a career in broadcasting when she grows up. Here she is – with her mother Amneh –with the BBC radio and TV presenter Claudia Hammond.
Above all the evening was an opportunity to mingle and chat in the splendid surroundings of Canada House.
Photos © Ian Brodie/Sponsor Refugees