Soho Road Diwali Mela Event 21st October 2018

Handsworth Lions Club and helpers were again at the forefront of humanitarian service on Sunday 21st October 2018 during the annual Handsworth Diwali Mela event and the seasonal switching on of the Soho Road Diwali / Christmas lights. The event attracted thousands of people and was the culmination of the hard work and preparations between the representatives of Soho Road BID (SRB), officials from Birmingham MBC, officers of Handsworth Lions Club and many more.


A multitude of stalls were manned along the Soho Road with helpers selling their wares as well as making and selling delicious food, which filled the air with spicy aromas. Many other stalls were collecting for other good causes or displaying items of interest. Mini fairground rides, and displays also attracted punters. The free children’s rides in the funfair were popular throughout the day. Families and individuals from varying cultures, faiths and backgrounds lapped up the variety available and danced to live music hosted by DJ Dipps Bhamra all day. People immersed themselves to vibrant performances by artists such as Apache Indian, Jenny Johal, Apna Sangeet, and many more resonating from both ends of Soho Road. They were also treated to a magnificent fireworks display at the climax of the evening.

Handsworth Lions were very conspicuous in the line of service and fundraising, ably helped with the collaboration of members, family and friends and the active Lions from Acocks Green Lions Club. The shift schedule ensured that essential tasks were covered on a rota basis and members still had time to spend time at leisure. The joint effort helped to raise funds for the Lions charity fund, through collections and sales from the Lions stand and rattling the tins for collections.


Additionally, they happily carried out marshalling duties on the day. These included selling raffle tickets on behalf of the Andy Street Charity for the homeless, crowd management and general support of visitors. The collaboration, fellowship and fundraising signified Lionism at its very best and should be commended. Their efforts had raised over £1300 for good causes.


Those present included LP Jitesh, and Lions Dawer, Femi, Vikram, Umesh, Dipak, Ravinder, Jit Josen, Jit Sehjal, Harish, Dobinder, VP Joginder and prospective Lion Harvinder. They were ably helped by Lions: Sarah, Sophie and Terry from Acocks Green Lions Club and many respective family members and friends who all pulled together in the spirit of teamwork and gave support in whichever manner practical to ensure the success of the occasion. Members and volunteers made use of their initiative and responsibilities to complete tasks in a friendly atmosphere. The feedback from everyone involved has been very positive.


Lions and their helpers should be proud to note the following statistics for the event this year:

  • 22,000 visitors during the event 

  • 140,000 interactions on Social media in one week which is our biggest numbers yet

  • Higher numbers of visitors staying at the event for longer


Indeed, the feedback from Soho BID has also very positive as the extract from the excited manager indicates below:


In my opinion the work we have done with the Lions this year around Diwali has been really worthwhile...........and allowed us to arrange a really wonderful event with Marshalling support from two Lions Clubs. The volunteers were all really supportive and helpful and happily took on the role of lost persons zone when we had to relocate it during the event.

Overall I am really happy with our partnership approach and we are discussing possibilities of joining forces for the Christmas events in the future giving the Lions a chance to interact and fundraise with High Street users during the Christmas Period.’


The lights switch on was performed jointly by the Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, Andy Street, and Jenny Johal, the Punjabi playback singer. Many thousands of excited and vociferous people witnessed the spectacle at the beginning of the Hindu new year as Soho Road became immersed in a Festival Of Lights.


Lion President Jitesh having appreciated the tremendous effort in making this event a success stated: "Indeed, it was a great pleasure for Birmingham Handsworth Lions Club to be an integral part of the Soho Road Diwali programme. It gave us the opportunity to play a part within our community and at the same time raise much-needed funds for the charitable causes we support locally and internationally. Our thanks to Andy Street for his wonderful comments on our work and especially the SRB management team for their faith and support in our involvement. We look forward to playing our part in future programmes."


This is a prime example of Lionism at the very best. Fun, fellowship whilst helping those less fortunate!!


Shakunthala Dance Drama Event 27th October 2018


The Crescent Theatre in Sheepcote Street was packed with the long awaited Handsworth Lions Club presentation of ‘Shakunthala’, the Kalidas’ epic tale of love, loss and redemption. Over 300 people had paid between £15 and £25 for tickets and watched the colourful, thrilling performance unfold.

IPP Lion Vikram and Lion Kanu went on stage to thank everyone who attended and confirmed the proceeds will be used towards the ‘Eye Camps in Gujarat’ project. It was expected that over £1500 would be raised from this event.

Congratulations to all involved to make this event a success.

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