A flawless event at Edgbaston saw Birmingham Awards salute the city’s stars.
Jas Sansi who has captured the event since it’s inception in 2014 reports on what made it so successful.
Neither cold weather, Black Friday weekend traffic nor the construction projects that stress test the roads in Brum prevented 450 guests arriving at Edgbaston for the Birmingham Awards 2018. A fantastic event awaited them.
Gemma Hill and Dan Kelly welcomed guests to a sparkly night celebrating all that is fab about our part of the world. Both did a sterling job in keeping the night on schedule, no easy task with twenty Awards to distribute over an evening of entertainment, key note speeches and a three course meal following a drinks reception.
And talking of food, there was a boxing exhibition at the same venue with 29 fights listed, however Birmingham Awards had the undisputed heavyweight Champion of Catering, Mahirs Experience who knocked everyone out with dinners for winners.
Organisers Ifraz Ahmed and Anita Chumber juggled tasks to produce the best event yet in the Awards four year history. The technical team led by Manj at Purple Square Audio Visual were flawless. There are infinite technical minefields at events like this, it’s incredibly rare to see it run like a Swiss watch mechanism. Great work guys, you deserve a huge shout out for this.
The judges were five respected leaders in the region’s business community and headed up by Tony Elvin. Recognised as one of Birmingham’s Power 250, Tony is General Manager at Touchwood Solihull having elevated Hotel du Vin to a whole new level. Still amazed the hotel group didn’t rebrand the Colmore BID venue Hotel El Vin. There’s still time.
So the recipe for a successful night was written; the audience of finalists, their support networks, friends and family did the rest. A night to remember. Let’s take a look at the winners.
Best Shopping Experience – New Square West Bromwich @newsquarewestb
I was over the moon to see this regeneration project succeed. Local MP Tom Watson who has been instrumental in much of the town’s renaissance will be delighted to read about it. The worthy winners were presented with their trophy by Anjum Khan from Award sponsors, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.
Independent Retailer of the Year – Spectacle Emporium
Independents give a place a unique offer and its impossible to quantify the value they bring along side the high street multiples.
Best Apprenticeship Employer Award – Severn Trent Water @stwater
Community Initiative – Suited for Success @SuitedForBham
A team I had the pleasure to meet with LoveBrum. One of the barriers for securing a job is having suitable clothing for interview. Suited for Success address this and have been instrumental in transforming lives through employment. Well done guys.
Social Enterprise of the Year – Devenish Girl Bakery
Super pleased to see Melanie join Deputy Vice Chancellor from Headline Sponsor, Birmingham City University to collect this award. Great work Mel.
Contribution to Education – Services for Education
Professional of the Year – Clive Read (VWV) @Cliveread4
Arts & Culture Award – Birmingham Hippodrome
Fresh from receiving The President’s Award at the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce, Mike Hopkins from South and City College presented Birmingham Hippodrome with their first of two awards.
Birmingham Hippodrome is one of the city’s gems staging world class performances. They reach out to the community promoting inclusion and inspire the next generation to realise the power of story telling on the stage. Bravo, team.
Venue of the Year – Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
At the very heart of Birmingham stands the breath taking Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. It never fails to inspire, delight and surprise me even after almost half a century of visiting.
An exhibition, WOMEN POWER PROTEST celebrating the 100 years anniversary of women winning the right to vote is on show at The Gas Hall, one of many spaces the Gallery has available to host incredible events.
The Round Room which houses Jacob Epstein’s Lucifer can be used for unique drinks receptions, the Devil is always in the detail. Congratulations to all of the team.
Excellence in Media Award – Ed James
Heart FM breakfast host and partner at HDY Agency was invited to the stage by his radio co-presenter Gemma Hill and category sponsor dluxe Birmingham and Solihull’s Lilith Holsey-Sheppard to pick up this very well deserved award.
Ed James is a fantastic event host and ambassador for Brum. He’s also one of the nicest people you could meet. He introduced me Johnny Rotten a few years ago who went on to tell me my camera flash was fu**ing blinding him! As a fan of The Sex Pistols, it genuinely remains one of my happiest memories as a photographer. Well done Ed.
Blogger of the Year – Ruth Millington
This was an incredibly strong category and one of the most important ones given the influence media, print and social has on our lives.
I was delighted to see Ruth win this award because she operates in both spheres, traditional print and social media. Ruth also has a unique online influence focusing on Art & Culture, something the Arts Council describes as having immeasurable benefit to Society, Health & Wellbeing, Education and the Economy.
Arts & Culture contributes £20 Billion to the UK economy and employs 162,000 people. The industry needs influencers like Ruth Millington to generate footfall and focus eyeballs on our region’s priceless collections especially to younger audiences who operate exclusively across digital platforms.
Ruth’s twitter is @ruth_millington, reach out.
Bar of the Year – Malmaison Birmingham
Stephanie from the boutique hotel popular with celebs visiting Brum joined Tru Powell and Denise Morris on stage to collect the award for Bar of the Year.
Malmaison Birmingham has a Ozzy Osbourne room at the hotel equipped with a huge round bed and hot tub. Rock and Roll hey?
Restaurant of the Year – Laghi’s Deli
No one cheered louder than Pat Murphy Wright when this was announced. The restaurant is just near Five Ways in Birmingham. Congratulations on a very popular category.
Sporting Initiative of the Year – City of Birmingham Rockets Basketball Club @cob_rockets
Best Use of Social Media – Birmingham Hippodrome
50,000 Twitter followers can’t be wrong.
Businesswoman of the Year – Sophia Cooper – OneFitMama
Businessman of the Year – Sam Piri ITAE Group
Small Business of the Year – Oxbridge Home Learning
Not even being in Las Vegas can stop Matt Jones from claiming another Award. Great work everyone.
Business of the Year – Rimilia
Young Achiever of the Year – Matthew Loughrey
Special Recognition Award – Kari Lawler
There is nothing artificial about the intelligence of 15 year old Kari Lawler who was also recognised by Future Faces earlier this year.
Brummie of the Year – Tim Andrews & PJ Ellis (Joint winners)
A wonderful penultimate end to the evening with this award going to two of the most well known business leaders in Brum.
Tim Andrews paid tribute to his father dedicating the award to him. PJ Ellis said he was humbled and not expecting the honour. Very well deserved for two great individuals who have collectively raised £2 Million for causes in the city region. Great work gents.
Lifetime Achievement Award – Rustie Lee
Rustie Lee burst onto television sets in the 1980s and was unlike anything that had been seen before in a medium that failed to reflect the demographics of the country.
Rustie was a breath of fresh air, you instantly warmed to her. I always looked forward to her food programs that introduced Caribbean foods to audiences who may never have seen a Caribbean takeaway or restaurant.
The survival of all media is dependent on its ability to echo the voices of those who are accessing it. Rustie Lee’s immense contribution saw the transition from Black and White television to the age of colour, and I’m not talking about the screen resolution.
And that’s it. Thank you to everyone who made Birmingham Awards a night to remember.
A huge thank you for supporting LoveBrum in making Birmingham an even better place.
See all the images from #BrumAwards18 on Flickr here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jassansi/albums/72157703958909475
Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10156874271116419&type=1&l=2f175d4a9f
Please comment, tag and share. Let me know what you think? Look forward to seeing you all at Birmingham Awards 2019.
Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, a trustee for LoveBrum and contributor to The Asian Today
@jassansi 07930 837 505