Camden and Islington Business Awards 2012

By Paola Bassanese


1st November 2012 saw the second Camden and Islington Business Awards ceremony at the Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden.

Recognising excellence in the Camden and Islington area, the Camden and Islington Chamber of Commerce organised a fantastic event that gave local businesses plenty of opportunity for networking and a platform for two local charities to raise their profile.

I spoke to the two featured charities at the start of the event to find out more about what they do.

Firstly I met Access to Sports. Their mission statement says: “The Access to Sports project is a community led, creative & innovative sports development charity project that works across the London boroughs of Islington, Haringey & Hackney”.

Their role is to help young people to improve their confidence and social engagement through sports and provide coaching which can ultimately lead to a qualification (exercise instructor, football coach, handball coach, basketball coach, boxing coach, personal trainer, dance teacher).

Their flagship initiative is the Kick Racism Out of Football tournament, happening every school term (7-a-side boys football tournament is on Friday 2nd November 2012, email to find out about future dates).

The other charity I had the pleasure of meeting at the awards is Centre 404 and their mission statement is “building a community and a society where people with learning disabilities are valued and involved members of our community”.

Centre 404 provide support to children with learning disabilities, their families and their carers.

They organise leisure activities for the children like clubs, trips and experiences as well as hands-on seminars for carers on personal budgets, support plans, disability benefits and employability support amongst others.

Centre 404 has a varied programme of events open to anyone who is interested in their work and wants to support their projects; forthcoming events include a fundraiser on Saturday 10th November 2012 at their centre featuring poetry, live music and food. Email to find out more.

The Camden and Islington Business Awards (CIBAs) 2012 were presented by the Islington Chamber of Commerce CEO Ronke Lawal  who is stepping down as chief executive this year. Ronke’s speech was inspirational and her energy and drive were publicly recognised at the end of the event.

Lara Morgan, founder of  presented each award category with her refreshingly direct style which has made her a sought-after public speaker over the years.

Main sponsors of the event were Barclays Bank, City and Islington College, Ham & High, Islington Gazette.

Sitting at my table were Iain Scott, who presented the award for Creative Business of the Year, Daryl Woodhouse of Advantage Business Partnerships, finalist in the Young Entrepreneur of The Year and a popular finalist in the People’s Choice Award category, and Ogodinife Okpue of Adverto Studios (who produced the CIBAs 2012 promo video) . Earlier in the evening I also met 350 Euston Road who received a special commendation for their work in Corporate Social Responsibility.

Entertainment on the night was provided by the Anna Fiorentini Theatre and Film School who won the award for Charity/Social Service Provider of the Year.