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Gazette hosts pioneering community awards scheme

A North-East daily newspaper has this week hosted what is thought to be the first newspaper awards ceremony in Britain for the Bangladeshi community.

The Shields Gazette organised the Bangla Achievement Awards to help inspire young Bangladeshis to raise their aspirations and recognise achievement.

The awards were staged after the newspaper was approached by South Shields community worker Lalon Amin, who was impressed by the Gazette’s Pride of South Tyneside awards, and wanted to hold a similar event for his own community.

The Gazette launched the Bangla Achievement Awards in September, with four categories – pupil of the year, student of the year, entrepreneur of the year and community achievement award.

The paper received about 50 nominations and published at least one story and picture a day featuring each nominee.

The winners were announced at a ceremony at South Shields Town Hall attended by more than 150 people. VIP guests included the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, leading councillors, representatives from the Bangladeshi community, businesses, schools and the police.

Shields Gazette editor and awards judge John Szymanski said: “It was a terrific event, warmly embraced by the Bangladeshi community and enjoyed by all.

“We believe it is the first time in Britain that a local newspaper has linked up with the Bangladeshi community to host an event of this kind, so it makes us very proud indeed.”