Pioneers inspiring generations

We are extremely proud and honoured to inform our members that two of our prominent Trustees (Prof Awadhesh Jha & Dr Sanjay Sharma) have been recognised as pioneers in their respective disciplines by the University of Plymouth.

I will not even try and summarise their pioneering work but please feel free to read in detail their considerable contributions and their respective journeys:

Prof Awadhesh Jha

Dr Sanjay Sharma

I will however attempt to emphasise the relative importance of such recognition within a modern multicultural British Society.

Recent research (Centre for Social Integration at Nuffield College, University of Oxford) points job seekers from minority ethnic groups had to send an average of 60% more applications to receive the same level of interest as those from majority groups. A number of factors contribute to such discrimination and some progress to overcome bias has been made. However, the report observes that the progress is far too little when compared with other studies carried out over the past 50 years. The latest NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard report suggests that 15% of ethnic minority staff in the health service experienced discrimination in the past 12 months, compared with 13.8% the previous year. Just under a fifth of the NHS workforce is from a black and ethnic minority background, yet the proportion in senior management positions is 6.9%. Progress has certainly been made as documented in the recently published report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities but the recommendations made in the report suggests that much more needs to be done.

The above references indicate the challenges in the preceding decades and despite these, we are now witnessing the recognition and celebration of contributions (like Prof Jha and Dr Sharma) made towards the betterment of the country and human race. We take immense pride as a diaspora that we do more than our fair share for the betterment of our local communities and the British Society as a whole. It is also reassuring to see that central and local governments are keen to work collaboratively to ensure a level playing field for each and every British citizen.

Awadhesh ji and Sanjay ji (as we address them traditionally), your recognition and achievement will undoubtedly inspire the next generation of aspiring scientists but you are also seen as exemplars of how to contribute towards community cohesion through voluntary work and action.

I felt inspired by you both when I joined SAaS and that feeling has not changed a bit.

You remind me of a famous quote by Steve Jobs “Stay hungry. Stay foolish”

Once more, heartiest congratulations on your success and keep up the good work.

Dr A Chatterjee

SAaS participates in £1.9M UKRI research project

man and woman sitting on sofa while looking at a tablet computer
Photo by Marcus Aurelius on Pexels.com

GOALD (Generating Older Active Lives Digitally) project the new work has been funded by UK Research and Innovation as part of the healthy ageing challenge to ensure we all live healthier and more connected lives. This programme is providing a total of £9.5m across the UK for interdisciplinary academic-led teams to carry out research into social, behavioural and design aspects of healthy ageing. The programme aims to contribute to the challenge mission of ensuring people can enjoy at least five extra healthy, independent years of life by 2035 while narrowing the gap between the richest and poorest by enhancing our understanding of the aspirations, preferences and needs of the ageing population.

crop friends stacking hands together
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

The three-year project is a collaboration between the University of Stirling and the University of Plymouth’s Centre for Health Technology. The project partners with seven charities and community groups in the South West working with older people and younger participants living in the community, as well as residents from eight care homes in Cornwall. Over the course of the three-year project, the research team will record the different groups’ experiences of digital resources and assistive technologies and then share their findings with business partners – small to medium-sized enterprises – to develop new technologies, product ideas and test design concepts.

SAaS is delighted to be able to contribute to this very important development as part of the post-Covid recovery. Further information will follow in the next few months and will be coordinated by Dr Mahrukh Mirza and Dr Satish BK on behalf of SAaS.

Census 2021

The census is a survey that happens every 10 years and gives us a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales. The next census takes place on Sunday 21 March 2021.

Your answers to the census questions will help organisations make decisions on planning and funding public services in your area, including transport, education and healthcare.

You can complete your census as soon as you receive your letter, but make sure you answer about your household as you expect it to be on Census Day. If you complete your census early and the number of people in your household changes, please let us know.

The census should take about 10 minutes for the household questions and 10 minutes per person.

What’s the Story Study – Serum Testing of Representative Youngsters

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust is researching a new way of surveying how well protected we are from infectious diseases by collecting blood samples from people who represent different groups across society. What happens in this study?

They are looking to enrol children and adults aged from birth to 19 years old.

  • There will be a single visit with a blood test. 
  • We will ask you some basic information including age, gender, vaccination history.
  • We will arrange to see you in a clinic at the Lind Research Centre, level 5, Derriford Hospital.
  • Participants seen in clinics will be offered £20 reimbursement in the form of a voucher for taking part in the study. If they are seen at home there will be no reimbursement.
  • Local anaesthetic skin cream would be used for children to reduce any discomfort from blood sampling
  • The whole appointment should take around 45 minutes.

Taking part in this research study is completely voluntary.  If you would like any further information please visit www.whatsthestory.org.uk or contact us by telephone on 01752 432447 or email on plh-tr.whatsthestory@nhs.net.

Register to trial

SAaS Youth Forum

We are exploring a proposal to set up a youth forum for the South Asian Society. A youth forum is an organisation run and developed by young people for young people. They exist to represent the views of young people at a community level, giving them the opportunity to have a voice, discuss relevant issues, engage with decision-makers and contribute to improving the lives of other young people within their communities.

The youth forum usually consists of members across age range of 11-18 years.

Youth Forum Benefits

  • develop greater self-esteem and self-confidence.
  • develop communication skills.
  • develop leadership skills.
  • develop organisational skills.
  • gain self-worth and inner strength to battle negative peer pressure.
  • develop winning attitudes
  • learning how to work with other young people.
  • build strong and lasting friendships.

The youth forum will strive to extend and expand on the core mission and activities of SAaS but with a new and independent outlook. This will also provide a route to represent in the regional youth parliaments improving integration and cohesion from a very young age while enhancing the overall contribution of SAaS towards the local communities.

Charity fundraising by SAaS youth

Continuing the efforts throughout this pandemic by the SAaS members, two young members of our community have raised over £1600

Sid

In the month of December, Sid Warrier trained and cycled 100 miles for supporting “Action for children” so he can help young children. Sid was interviewed by BBC Radio Devon. He said, “Over Xmas instead of asking my parents for presents, I would like to give something that can help the less fortunate children who need a safe place to live, healthy food to eat and can be cared for”. 

Swetha Pandy trained to complete a half-marathon raising money for St John Ambulance helping them to provide first aid training responding to their Emergency Appeal campaign for saving lives together. The weather was extremely harsh but that did not deter Swetha’s determination and she went ahead and completed the challenge.

Swetha

It is with this community spirit and effort from all parts of the society we will build a strong and cohesive future, overcoming the challenges posed by the Pandemic.

Virtual Annual Event 2020

The 2020 virtual annual cultural celebrations brought together the community at a very difficult time when social distancing and lockdown has been the norm. Despite the challenges, the event was as entertaining as in the previous years and was attended by over 130 remote attendees. The cultural event staged 16 colourful and heartwarming performances highlighting a wide variety of themes from South Asia.

The event was virtually graced by the Lord Mayor and Mayoress & Police and crime commissioner of Devon and Cornwall. Our sincere thanks to all the participants who were instrumental in making this event a huge success. We look forward to organising similar events in near future.  

Please see below a few “screen shots” from the virtual event.

Covid and me – BBC Reflection series

Members of our society are participating in a reflection series organised by BBC on their experiences during these difficult Covid times.

The series will run this week (Mon 30 Nov-Sun 6th Dec) each day at 7.20 am and might then be repeated at 8.50am too on the ‘BBC Radio Devon breakfast programme’

They could also be repeated later in the day. This is of course not guaranteed as sometimes breaking news comes in, or things need to be altered for timings, but those times mentioned above are definitely in the plan.

The plan is to broadcast all of the pieces (i.e. Monday through until Sunday) probably in the following order:

Dr. Mahrukh Mirza – Mon, 30th Nov

Dr. Surajit Sinha – Tue, 1st Dec

Ms. Ruby Arora – Wed, 2nd Dec 

Dr. Shagun Khera -Thu, 3rd Dec

Dr. Sarita Nesargi -Fri, 4th Dec

Ms. Rachna Mohan – Sat, 5th Dec

Dr. Vasant Raman – Sun 6th Dec

Free Yoga sessions for Health & Wellbeing

backlit balance beach cloud

The impact of the pandemic on health and wellbeing is well documented. A multitude of organisations, centrally and locally, are trying to do their best to help us overcome this challenge. Beyond the actual effects of the virus, the long term impacts on ones physical and mental wellbeing are acknowledged but are still being researched.

In such gloomy times, it is but natural to feel anxious and demoralised. While we cannot control external factors that impact our lives, we can certainly dive deep within us to find the strength and energy to mitigate and where possible overcome the negative impacts on our health and wellbeing.

In order to facilitate such a journey “within”, South Asian Society of Devon and Cornwall is delighted to offer 3 preliminary free Yoga webinars for community members across the region. We are partnering with the internationally renowned “Isha Foundation” who are accredited partners of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Locally we are delighted to be partnering with Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Devon and Cornwall who are co-sponsoring the event with us.

All sessions listed below will be delivered by trained “Isha Foundation” facilitators.

SessionDate & TimeSign up
Yoga for Mental Health28th Nov 2020 (10 – 11 AM)Register for Free
Yoga For Immunity29th Nov 2020 (4 – 5 PM)Register for Free
Yoga for Wellbeing5th December (10 – 11 AM)Register for Free
No previous experience of yoga required
This session is open to anybody over the age of 12

Through simple postures, breathing practices and guided meditations, these tools will
help you become the architect of your own wellbeing; fostering a peaceful, joyful and
most importantly balanced state of body, mind and emotions. The practices require a
space the size of a yoga mat and some can even be done whilst sitting at a desk.

No previous experience of yoga required
This session is open to anybody over the age of 12

Depending on the response and demand we will look to provide further sessions in future.