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Women’s Empowerment Month

Women’s Empowerment Month 2022

Women’s Empowerment Month Awards

The Women’s Empowerment Month Awards celebrates and pays tribute to the inspirational women of Barking and Dagenham. Building on the borough’s rich heritage of women who stood for women’s rights and equality the awards mark the diverse achievements across a range of categories.

These public awards mark the diverse achievements of women who live and work in Barking and Dagenham across eight different categories, six of which are open to public nominations.

Nominations are now open and closing on 31 January 2022.

To nominate someone and for further guidance, please visit our One Borough website.

Gender Equality Charter

Barking and Dagenham became the first council in the country to adopt a Gender Equality Charter in March 2016. It sets out our ongoing commitment to creating a society where a person’s life choices, opportunities and agency are not limited by gender.

We want Barking and Dagenham to be a place where everyone is valued and respected, and has the opportunity to fulfil their potential, however they identify in terms of gender. So far, over 160 organisations and residents have pledged their support to the charter.

Sign up and support the Gender Equality Charter

Award results

Award results 2021 Toggle accordion

  • Business Woman of the year - Carole Pluckrose
  • Female Parent/Carer of the year - Veronica Walsh
  • Female Volunteer of the year - Evelyn Karstadt
  • Jodie Chesney Young Woman of the year - Kayleigh Dobinson
  • Women’s Community Group of the year - Hum Dum
  • Leadership award - Nikki Watson
  • Outstanding Woman of the year - Carole Pluckrose
  • Anne Estlea Lifetime Achievement award - Joan Brandon, CEO of Volunteer Bureau

Award results 2020 Toggle accordion

Award winners 2020

Parent Carer

Joyce Bowness


Lindsay Rust


Joelle Mae David

Leadership Arts and Culture

Avril McIntyre

Young Woman

Elvire Mavusi Matu

Community Group

The Hive

Overall woman of the year

Joelle Mae David

Ann Eastlea Award

Liza Vallance

Award results 2018 Toggle accordion

The fourth annual Women’s Empowerment Awards which celebrates and pays tribute to the inspirational women of Barking and Dagenham took place on Wednesday 7 November 2018 at the Broadway Theatre.

The ceremony saw 16 women and three community groups nominated, with eight going on to become winners.

2018 winners

Female parent or carer of the year award

Winner - Dorothy Bell

Female volunteer of the year award

Winner - Victoria Berry

Leadership award in arts and culture

Winner - Laura Ana Maria Losifescu

Women’s community group of the year award

Winner - Triangoals

Young woman of the year award

Winner - Amber Hood

Business woman of the year award

Winner - Sarah Landragin

Anne Estlea lifetime achievement award

Winner - Anne Bristow

Overall woman of the year

Winner - Sarah Landragin

Award results 2017 Toggle accordion

Our third annual Women’s Empowerment Month Awards took place on Thursday 30 March, at an impressive ceremony held in The Broadway.

The evening marked the end of another successful Women’s Empowerment Month.

Thanks to everyone who made a nomination for these awards, and thanks also to all our sponsors Bouygues UK and The Broadway for helping make the evening so special.

Congratulations to all those nominated and of course to all the category winners.

Business woman of the year

Winner: Kemi Oloyede

Last year Kemi took a huge leap of faith to part ways with her secondary school teaching job to follow her dream to make and create wearable garments and set up the ‘Sew London Project’ in the heart of East London.

She is passionate about ethical fashion and her label Recyclothes offers courses on recycling items into gifts and objects of use.

Kemi’s designs were featured in the fashion show held at the Barking Learning Centre as part of the council’s Black History Month in October 2016.


Sarah Allman.

Abisola Christos-Wahab.

Kemi Oloyede.

Female parent or carer of the year

Winner: Toni Sheriff–Geary

Toni is a remarkable single parent who cares for her three sons of which two have additional needs.

Despite overcoming her own personal issues Toni continues to give to the community.

She tirelessly gives her time to Five Elms Primary school organising and participating in parent events, fund raising and trips.

Toni also counsels many parents and carers of children with additional needs at the Heathway centre and supports homeless individuals working closely with charitable organisations.

Even doing all this she organises her time well so she can spend quality time with her own family.


Rahat Ismail.

Donna Lumsden.

Toni Sheriff-Geary.

Female volunteer of the year

Winner: Val Shaw

Val is a super volunteer who has been working with the integration and commissioning team, events team, Barking library, neighbourhood watch, resident’s association and Barking hospital.

She is hardworking, caring and a selfless personality.

Val spends almost all her waking time as a volunteer and is not afraid of standing up for what she believes in and through her work is helping to create a better future for Barking and Dagenham.


Violet Charlton.

Val Shaw.

Heni Vyas.

Intergenerational award

Winner: Rosie Ross

Rosie produced the ‘Open Estate’, a Heritage Lottery Funded project that celebrated the domestic and social history of the Gascoigne estate during a time of much change and turbulence for the communities.

She designed and delivered an 18-month programme of intergenerational arts and heritage activities.

Rosie trained local people to become historians, hosted discussions, parties and workshops, bringing older residents in their 80s and 90s to collaborate with children as young as nine or 10 and ages in between.


Samantha Ashton.

Rosie Ross.

Women’s community group of the year

Winner: Treasured Memories (Positive Change)

Treasured Memories held a celebration tea party to unveil a wall hanging they had created from squares of material that families from William Bellamy Children’s Centre had decorated with drawings, and quotes.

Parents, children, staff, and volunteers had a chance to meet the ladies who had spent many hours creating their work into the masterpiece which is on display in the centre.

On the wall hanging the group embroidered the words: ‘When women work together, incredible things happen’.


East London Nepalese Women’s Association.

Treasured Memories (Positive Change).


Young woman of the year

Winner: Kelly-Louise Lamb

After her family were made homeless through no fault of their own Kelly-Louise went on to raise awareness about child poverty.

She appeared in a BBC documentary, and went to parliament as a guest speaker for the ‘Child in Poverty’ event and gave an honest and frank speech which included thought provoking questions, in front of a room full of politicians, business people and members of the public in which she openly challenged government policy.


Kelly-Louise Lamb.

Pelumi Oyewo.

Outstanding woman of the year

Winner: Toni Sheriff-Geary

Toni is an outstanding woman and who encapsulates this award.

Her unconditional work in the community supporting others is selfless, always putting the needs of others above her own.

She has faced challenges and adversity but still remains focused on serving others.

Toni is an advocate for all vulnerable groups and shows the most extraordinary courage and commitment to raising the aspirations of others.

Her voluntary work makes a real difference every day, touching the lives of students at Five Elms Primary school, parents and carers of children at Heathway centre and those who have no home to go to.

Toni offers a lifeline to those she helps, her voluntary work never stops and she always goes above and beyond the call of duty.

She is a shining example of a mother, counsellor, volunteer and a great ambassador of the voluntary sector in Barking and Dagenham.

Lifetime achievement award

Winner: Anne Estlea

Anne Estlea had a great passion for everything she did and never did anything by halves.

Her life was dedicated to her family.

Family for Anne extended to her friends of which she had many, her mothering instincts also saw her take many a volunteer or even a stranger under her caring wing.

She won Volunteer of Year in 2011 and again in 2012 during which time she worked as a Volunteer Coordinator on the Gateway to the Games Volunteer Programme and recruited a 200-strong army of volunteers for the Olympic Torch Relay.

Her volunteering work was impressive and also included the Youth Offending Panel and setting up the Chadwell Heath Community Centre, which would not have happened if it wasn’t for her drive, determination, vision and strong leadership.

Unfortunately, Anne’s lifetime was cut short but her remarkable legacy in Barking and Dagenham lives on.

Award results 2016 Toggle accordion

Our second annual Women’s Empowerment Month Awards took place at a glittering ceremony at Castle Green’s Boothroyd Hall on 30 March.

Building on the borough’s rich heritage of strong and determined women who stood for women’s rights, the awards celebrate the borough’s inspirational women and marks their diverse achievements across nine different categories.

The evening marked the end of another successful Women’s Empowerment Month.

Throughout the month, along with our partners, we helped deliver a packed programme of events across the borough as well as the launch of our pioneering Gender Equality Charter.

Congratulations go to the winners on the evening.

Award winners

Unsung Heroine

Samantha Ashton.

Adult Learner

Reena Brown-Prempeh.

Young Achiever

Kayleigh Summers.

Female Volunteer

Gill Turner.


Donna Pike.

Community Group

Future M.O.L.D.S. Communities.

Woman of Courage

Nusrat Zamir.


Karen Brown.

Young Woman

Abigail Hall.

Overall winner of Woman of the Year

Nusrat Zamir.

Event sponsored by Bouygues UK

Award results 2015 Toggle accordion

These public awards recognised the diverse achievements of Barking and Dagenham’s women across nine different categories, with an overall ‘Woman of the Year’ selected from the category winners.

Well done to all finalists and congratulations to the winners in each category.

Award winners and presenters

Female Volunteer

Meenakshi Krishnaprasad.

Presented by Janet Curtis-Broni from Barking and Dagenham College.

Young Achiever

Vaisaly Gnanapandithan.

Presented by Angelica Olawepo (Young Mayor).

Businesswoman of the Year

Elena Cristina Bumbac.

Presented by Mary Clements from Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce.

Women’s Community Group

Raised Voices singing group.

Presented by Erika Jenkins from Barking and Dagenham BDCVS.

Young Woman of the Year

Chloe Kent.

Presented by Robyn Keeble, MBE.

Adult Learner

Karen Perry.

Presented by Helen Jenner, Director of Children’s Services.

Woman of Courage

Karla Felicianne.

Presented by Cllr Ashraf, Deputy Leader of the council.

Mum of the Year

Marcia Young.

Presented by Cllr Bright.

Unsung Heroine

Audrey Deal.

Presented by Cllr Carpenter.

Woman of the Year

Karla Felicianne.

Presented by Margaret Hodge, MP, accompanied by Barking Rotary Club, sponsor of the crystal award.