Oh, what a night it was as the Caring and Sharing team completely transformed Champness Hall into a dazzling venue that could rival the Oscars! Guests arrived adorned in magnificent cultural attire, eagerly anticipating a night dedicated to celebrating the remarkable achievements and milestones of the Black community.
The atmosphere was nothing short of glitz and glamour, with a red carpet for guests to walk upon, offering the chance to be photographed with none other than the Bell of the Ball herself, Nicky Iginla, the CEO of Caring and Sharing Rochdale and the driving force behind this spectacular event.
The celebration also welcomed esteemed guests, including MP Tony Lloyd, Right Honourable Deputy Mayor, Councillor Shakil Ahmed, Councillor Neil Emmott, Councillor Bev Place, Councillor Rachel Massey, Councillor Janet Emsley, Councillor Elizabeth Atewologun, and many other important dignitaries.
Upon arrival, guests were warmly welcomed by the Caring and Sharing team, all dressed in vibrant African tabards, and were guided straight to the food area, where they were treated to a delectable spread of traditional African cuisine, lovingly prepared by the Caring and Sharing Caterers.
As everyone took their seats, the main event commenced with prayers and a welcome address from Olawale Ogunijmi (Operations Manager, Caring and Sharing Rochdale).
The evening was further enriched with speeches from other notable individuals, including MP Tony Lloyd, Councillor Shakil Ahmed (Deputy Mayor of Rochdale), Prof Erinma Bell MBE, DL, JP (CEO & Co-founder, CARISMA), Rose Ssali (Founder, SAWN & MAMA), Hebe Reilly (Director, Cartwheel Arts), Dr. Charles Kachitsa (Entrepreneur, Consultant & Community Leader), Tikhala Chimpango (Director, Woman Arise CIC & Gems of Africa), and Princess Folashade Alonge (Founder, De Butterfly CIC).
The master of ceremonies for the evening, Alfa Kuabo, skillfully guided the proceedings, paying due respect to the esteemed speakers, who graciously shared their wisdom despite their busy schedules.
The night was also adorned with captivating cultural performances, including enchanting dances by the Sunshine Cultural Dancers, Sudanese dancers, Ethiopian & Eritrean dancers, Nigerian dancers, and dancers from many other countries.
In addition to the captivating dance performances, there was a powerful poem recital by 14-year-old Yvonne Maina and a mesmerising theatrical performance by the CAS Drama Group. Furthermore, the night resonated with melodious musical performances, featuring talented local artists who graced the stage with their soulful melodies and rhythmic beats.
Visitors had the opportunity to explore stalls set up by various community organisations, including All Things African, Living Well, and Culture Co-op. To promote health and well-being, a representative from the council, Anne Nikolaou, offered to measure attendees’ blood pressure.
For those seeking musical enjoyment, a DJ set the stage for an old-fashioned boogie, inviting everyone to join on the dance floor. Guests proudly displayed their beautiful costumes as they danced the night away to their favourite tracks.
The festivities were so infectious that many wished for an after-party, but, alas, the evening had to come to an end, bidding farewell until next year.
We eagerly anticipate the next grand event and encourage everyone to stay updated through Caring and Sharing Rochdale’s social media channels so as not to miss any future events.