Luton News readers vote Discover Islam as People's Choice winner in Luton's Best Awards 2020
Summer reception and dinner at Luton Hoo formally celebrates Love Luton’s 10th anniversary
The winner of the Luton News-sponsored People's Choice category in the Luton s Best Awards 2020 was revealed on Thursday (July 15) as The Love Luton partnership hosted its first face-to-face event in more than 18 months.
The summer reception and dinner at Luton Hoo was arranged to formally celebrate Love Luton’s 10th anniversary, the successes of all the Luton’s Best 2020 winners (which had been revealed last month) and allow The Mayor of Luton Cllr Mahmood Hussain to present the People's Choice accolade to Discover Islam.
All those shortlisted for a Luton's Best award could be voted for in the People's Choice. Almost 2,000 votes were cast by readers of the Luton News, with Discover Islam triumphing with more than 15% of poll. They had previously picked up the Community Company gong and been runner-up in the Luton in Harmony category.
Discover Islam is a grassroots, community-based organisation representing the understanding and views of the majority of Muslims in Luton and is supported by the Luton Council of Mosques. It has shown great partnership work across Luton, including working with Level Trust to combat child poverty, working with Age Concern Luton to tackle fuel poverty and working closely with Luton foodbank. It has been at the heart of many community initiatives during the pandemic.
Following the award night, Discover Islam tweeted: "Wow! This was an amazing surprise... We are so proud to have been an integral part of the local effort to support our most vulnerable through the pandemic. Huge credit to our wonderful centre team."
A presentation was also made to Harvey Buckingham, aged 4, who unfortunately hadn’t been able to make the small Luton's Best ceremony back in June. Harvey, the joint winner of Child of Courage, suffers from a rare genetic condition meaning that he is unable to speak, so he uses Makaton. He faces many struggles day to day; he was told he would never walk, yet he is able to persist and has now started using a walking frame.
The Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis, delivered the keynote speech. She recognised the fantastic work of the extraordinary Luton’s Best winners and the huge impact the Love Luton partnership has made on the town over the last ten years.
Mrs Nellis said: “What a great story to tell about the amazing people of Luton who are exemplars of reaching out, one to another, person to person, to support and nurture the building of a society where all can feel at home. Now in its 11th year, Love Luton has much to be proud of. They truly demonstrate the power of organisations working together with the community to change lives for the better."
Cllr Maria Lovell MBE attended the event to formally present the scarf made of Ghanian cloth, which the Ghana Society had made to recognise Love Luton’s 10th anniversary. The Ghana Society are one of the many organisations that have been part of Love Luton since its formation.
Guests were entertained by the Trio Steelpan group, who opened the event. After dinner, Olivia Lynn took to the stage, where she performed her debut single. Olivia, 16, won the Young Achiever Luton’s Best Award, and Love Luton was delighted and honoured to have her perform at the event.
The Chairperson of Love Luton, Linsey Frostick, who hosted the evening, closed the event by playing a Love Luton video which marked the huge successes of the Love Luton Partnership and also the up and coming events in the 2021 programme, which included the official launch of the Luton’ Best 2021 Awards; the Big Trunk Trail which is now live across Luton and the half marathon and 10k scheduled for October 31,
Ms Frostick said: “It was an absolute delight to host our first event in more than 18 months. 2020 was not the year we had planned, and we had to cancel all our planned events and celebrations. The summer reception and dinner were a real opportunity to celebrate the partnership's work and bring together and celebrate our Luton’s Best 2020 winners. Particular highlights included welcoming the amazing Harvey Buckingham and announcing our People’s Choice winner – Discover Islam. The event was also an opportunity to formally launch our 2021 Luton’s Best Awards.”
“As chair, I was honoured to welcome Cllr Maria Lovell MBE of the Ghana Society. The scarf was simply stunning and worth the wait. The Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire had our guests uplifted with her hugely impactful speech. The partnership is honoured to have such amazing support from our dignitaries, but my biggest thanks go to our local businesses, who have funded and supported the campaign since 2010. Even during the pandemic, the partnership has gone from strength to strength, and I’m looking forward to working with them as we plan our programme going forward."
Love Luton is fully funded by external sponsorship and wish to thank Active Luton, Arriva, Barnfield College, Bartham Group, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service; FCC Environment; HBD; London Luton Airport; London Luton Airport Limited; Luton Council; Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf and Spa; Luton News; Luton Town Football Club; Metro Bank; Ryebridge; Signature Flight Support; Strawberry Star; The Mall; Treacle Factory; the University of Bedfordshire, Volker Highways and Volker Fitzpatrick.
Keech Hospice Care are Love Luton’s chosen charity partner.