08 Mar 2024

Celebration of Culture and Communities pays tribute to the “varied, diverse culture” that makes up our region

Almost 500 guests packed the Athena in Leicester for East Midlands Chamber’s annual celebration of the diversity that helps define our region.

Singers and dancers shared traditional and modern music and dance as the Chamber paid tribute to the vast array of nationalities that contribute to our home towns and cities.

Guests were invited to wear traditional clothes for the Celebration of Culture and Communities, the fourth of its kind to be held, marking all the work the Chamber does outside the traditional fields of business. The theme this year was “Stronger Together”.

Entertainment was provided by a broad mix of award-winning acts – the Choy Lee Fut Lion Dance, BBC Songs of Praise Choir of the Year 2023 and Britain’s Got Talent Semi Finalists EAGA Gospel Choir, The Voice UK semi-finalist Bizzi Dixon, the Burden Academy of Irish Dance, Ultimate Bhangra – who helped pack the dancefloor – and DJ “The Old Boy” Chetan Patel.

The night was hosted by toast-master Geoff Harris with a three-course Indian meal provided by hospitality partner Sanjay Foods, while the three headline partners – who each had an opportunity to thank the attendees and share their stories of cultural diversity – were Samworth Brothers, emh Group and De Montfort University.

The event partner was Sanjib 8, entertainment partner was Tomato Energy and the drinks reception sponsor was Barclays Eagle Labs.

In his opening speech Chamber president Stuart Dawkins said he was honoured to formally welcome guests and was proud to be a “Leicester lad”, coming from a city regarded as one of the most multicultural places in Britain.

He said: “This event started out a few years ago here in Leicester as the Chamber recognised the varied, diverse culture that makes our place what it is – and wanted to celebrate that.

“At the time it was a bit of an experiment but now, a few years later, we can see the success of that experiment. Interest has grown and grown, and this is now one of the major evenings hosted by the Chamber.

“I think it’s the biggest turnout of any similar event that we host through the year, and has many friends and supporters from across our three counties of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and, of course, Leicestershire.

“The commitment to an event like this is fully in-keeping with the Chamber as we expanded our aims from supporting the businesses of the East Midlands to support for the businesses and communities of the East Midlands.

“That recognised that stronger communities are not only an important thing in their own right but also provide a basis for stability which business needs to prosper.”

Sanjib Sahota, managing director of Sanjib 8, said: “The Celebration of Culture and communities is very special to me. When I was working for the Chamber we had a vision to celebrate and recognise the people and communities that make the East Midlands such a great place to live and work.

“We developed the concept of the event in collaboration with Dr Nik Kotecha DL, Pritti Allen and Chan Kataria with the aim to celebrate the positive contributions that people and communities make to our businesses, charities and to our society.

“Sanjib 8 formed a partnership with the East Midlands Chamber and was responsible for the event management of the event.

“The event was a huge success, with a record number of attendees. I’m not aware of any events of this type in the region that brings together this many businesses, charities and people into the same room to celebrate diversity in the East Midlands.

“The feedback from Chamber members has been truly incredible, the entertainment and catering was a firm favourite for many.

“The main thing is that people had a good experience and that the event continues to celebrate diversity, inclusion and all that is great about our region.”

You can find a selection of photos from the night, by clicking here.