A true community player, Jayanti Vaghadia has spent countless hours helping vulnerable people in Brighton and beyond.
Born in Kenya, he came to Sussex in 1964 to finish his studies. After graduating as an engineer, he worked in the motor industry until retiring in 2013. Yet in his spare time, Jayanti has always looked out for others. From giving out soup on Brighton seafront in the 80s to volunteering as a befriender at Blind Veterans, he has brought joy to a lot of people. And over a 23 year period, he raised more than £24,000 for the British Heart Foundation through charity bike rides.
If this wasn’t enough, Jayanti has also volunteered at the 2012 Olympics, picked fruit for the Fareshare food charity and helped out at his local library. During the pandemic he has done odd jobs for the elderly, plus cycled across the city twice a week to give out hot meals, sleeping bags and clothes to the homeless.
Known as a quiet and caring person who is always ready to help others, Jayanti has devoted his life to spreading kindness around Brighton.
When Shilpi Chandra first moved to Brighton from the small town of Mussoorie in North India, she knew no one except her husband. But over the years she has become a crucial figure in city life.
For over a decade, Shilpi has been a leading light in the city’s North Indian community and active member of Sussex Indian Punjabi Society. Gifted at bringing people of all ages together, she has been a key force in creating connections between various local Indian groups. For instance during lockdown, when the community wasn’t able to celebrate Diwali in the usual way, her work inspired a free live Facebook concert to raise money for the charity. She also organised Christmas presents for the homeless including gloves, hats, scarves along with a hot meal.
And when Shilpi’s daughter Kiara had to cancel her ninth birthday party in April due to lockdown, they both decided to do something for the community. So mother and daughter gave away decorated packages crammed with treats to homeless people on the seafront. News of this went viral on social media and gathered attention worldwide, including some Bollywood stars. As a result, Shilpi and Kiara created the Bag of Kindness initiative, where people can donate a meal on their birthdays, anniversaries or special occasions. To date, over 1000 homemade meals have now been given to the homeless.
Shilpi also hasn’t forgotten her hometown of Mussoorie, where she helps the Red Rose School for disadvantaged children as a teacher, sponsor and fundraiser. In fact, whether it is in Brighton or in India, Shilpi Chandra is just one of those people who wants to make the world a better place. And best of all, she is inspiring everyone else to do the same.
Emily Kenward believes passionately in the power of friendship to change people’s lives. After losing her beloved grandmother, Emily began wondering how she could make life better for the city’s elderly. Knowing that loneliness is a huge issue for older people, she gave up a successful career in marketing to create Time to Talk Befriending. Launched in 2013, the charity offers friendship and community to older people in East Sussex.
The Charity also works together with Sussex Indian Punjabi Society and other local BAME groups to raise awareness of loneliness during COVID19 and how it’s impact on social well-being can be improved.
Known for her ‘smile as big as her heart’, Emily has recruited a team of volunteers to bring companionship and connection to seniors. And in the process, many life-changing friendships have been forged.
When the pandemic started Emily was quick to take action, offering phone support and distributing emergency food parcels to homes. Every food parcel included two fresh home-cooked meals from a local chef and in total, over 3000 were delivered to those most in need. As well as this, Emily recruited an incredible 200 extra volunteers to help beat lockdown isolation.
Emily’s work has also received a number of awards and nominations, including the National Lottery Good Cause Community Champion Award and The Argus Community Stars Award. Supported by her team of staff and over 500 volunteers, she pours her heart and soul into the charity every single day of the year, including at Christmas.
As one volunteer says:
‘Emily sends ripples of love and care into the community, helping hundreds of elderly and vulnerable people across Brighton and Hove. She has been a lifeline for many, giving them a sense of purpose and a new zest for life. Emily is a Brighton treasure.’
Sussex Indian Punjabi Society is again supporting the beach clean up group; Surfers Against Sewage on following dates, times and locations. Note different start location/times to previous beach cleans. I will endeavour to be at start times. Observe latest COVID19 guidelines; eg Keeping to social distancing and limit groups to 6. Look forward to support from anyone who might be interested.
Bags/Gloves/Pick sticks : If you have these, please bring your own for social safety reasons and in case stock available for volunteers are limited.
Lets show Brighton Indian Community cares passionately about our beaches and are available to help during these difficult and unusual times. Currently council resources are stretched and social behaviour a bit poor from some not taking their rubbish back home if bins full.
Details of this and other campaigns can be found on: