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Bangladesh Youth League celebrates 35th anniversary

 46By Ansar Ahmed Ullah ::

Bangladesh Youth League (BYL) Luton celebrated its 35th Anniversary with a Gala Celebration Dinner on Wednesday 11th November at Venue Central, Bury Park, Luton.

The celebration dinner was the culmination of Bangladesh Youth League’s celebrations which included the community Mela that attracted over 1,500 people at the end of August and the Heritage Exhibition in Luton Central Library during October.

The celebratory event saw over 400 people, who were involved with BYL over the last 35 years come together to share, reminisce and celebrate significant achievements of this Luton charity.

The anniversary event celebrated the achievements of BYL including the establishment of the pre-school nursery, Little Stars in their purpose built nursery in 2011.  Prior to dinner participants were welcomed by BYL’s current Chair Sujel Miah. BYL’s founding Secretary Ansar Ahmed Ullah & Chair Abdullah Khan talked about early years of BYL. Rob Burton, Director of BYL’s Centre for Youth & Community Development (CYCD) gave an overview of present day BYL/CYCD.

Shamsuz Zaman, the current chair of CYCD said, ‘We have had years of success since the inception of the organisation and we have touched so many lives of the community in meeting their basic needs from education to training to welfare immigration needs.’

Tahir Khan & Saleh Ahmed talked about future hopes and dreams for BYL. Other guests who addressed the dinner were Luton’s Deputy Mayor Cllr Sameera Saleem, Lord McKenzie of Luton, Rt Hon Kelvin Hopkins MP, Dr Nazia Khanum of Bengali Womens Project (BWP), Council Leader Cllr Hazel Simmons and Rt Hon Gavin Shucker MP. The whole event was conducted by BYL’s Dr Monjour Ahmed.

Bangladesh Youth League was formed in 1979 by a group of young Bengali men who had come and settled in Luton and were aware of the needs and aspirations of their community which were not being met at the time.  Over the years BYL operated from various locations in the Bury Park area and along with their sister organisation, Bengali Womens Project (BWP) moved to their current centre in Leagrave Road, Centre for Youth and Community Development (CYCD).

Interviews with young people and volunteers were another feature of the event.  Following the dinner awards were presented to Bedfordshire Police Community Cohesion Team, Barnfield College for services to the community, Shahed Koyes, Male of the year and Councillor Naseem Ayub, Female of the year and Councillor Roy Davis, Lifetime Achievement Award.

Councillor Irak Chowdhury one of the BYL trustees said, ‘So many people and organisations have been part of the Bangladesh Youth League’s journey over the years, we wanted to mark their contribution with these awards”.