Businesses honoured at awards celebration

All of the winners at the 2022 Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce Business Awards

All of the winners at the 2022 Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce Business Awards - Credit: Bonnie Britain

The achievements of Barking and Dagenham businesses were celebrated at an awards ceremony.

The Post was among the sponsors of the Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, held on Thursday night (July 21) for the first time since 2019.

Care Optics director and owner Parag Joshi (centre) with the business of the year award, presented by Dame Margaret Hodge

Care Optics director and owner Parag Joshi (centre) with the business of the year award, which was presented by Dame Margaret Hodge - Credit: Bonnie Britain

The evening saw Care Optics, an optician with branches in Dagenham and Woodford, take home the business of the year award.

Director and owner Parag Joshi said: "I really do not know what to say. A really big thank you to everybody for supporting us."

Post chief reporter Michael Cox (left) presented the home grown talent award to PartyBox's Donna Pike

Post chief reporter Michael Cox (left) presented the home grown talent award to PartyBox's Donna Pike - Credit: Bonnie Britain

The business was the night's biggest winner, also being awarded employer of the year and training, development and supporting education accolades.

"We have all been through a really tough two years," Parag told the audience at Dagenham & Redbridge FC.

Dagenham & Redbridge FC managing director Steve Thompson with the club's Jubilee Award

Dagenham & Redbridge FC managing director Steve Thompson with the club's Jubilee Award - Credit: Bonnie Britain

"We survived so let's all be grateful and celebrate."

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The Post sponsored the home grown talent award, recognising businesses that have contributed to the borough in their lifespan.

The Baby Bank HQ was among the evening's winners

The Baby Bank HQ was among the evening's winners - Credit: Bonnie Britain

The accolade was won by PartyBox, which sells gifts and supplies for a range of occasions.

Ritchies Bakery won in the customer service category

Ritchies Bakery won in the customer service category - Credit: Bonnie Britain

Senior group editor Michael Adkins said: "We're delighted to once again partner with the Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce Business Awards.

Lakshmi Brand Ltd won the evening's first accolade for sole trader/micro business

Lakshmi Brand Ltd won the evening's first accolade for sole trader/micro business - Credit: Bonnie Britain

"It's really important we support, champion and celebrate local businesses and entrepreneurs.

Joy for award winners Laura Iosifescu, from Laura I Art Gallery CIC, and Carole Pluckrose

Joy for award winners Laura Iosifescu, from Laura I Art Gallery CIC, and Carole Pluckrose - Credit: Bonnie Britain

"All businesses face similar challenges - recovering from the Covid pandemic, coping with increases in fuel and operating costs and navigating the cost of living crisis affecting customers - yet still they continue to survive and thrive.

"The chamber excelled with another excellent awards evening. If you can support a local business, please do so."

Alex Rowley's mother (second right) accepted his employee of the year accolade

Alex Rowley's mother (second right) accepted his employee of the year accolade - Credit: Bonnie Britain

Dagenham & Redbridge FC received the one-off Jubilee Award, presented in honour of Her Majesty The Queen's 70 year reign.

The award recognised resilience, continuity and sustainability.

Cashain David (left), founder of distillery and blending house Kromanti Ltd, with the award for best new business

Cashain David (left), founder of distillery and blending house Kromanti Ltd, with the award for best new business - Credit: Bonnie Britain

The club's Victoria Road home became a rest centre following the July 19 fire that saw 14 homes destroyed and others damaged in Dagenham.

The business growth award went to Sign Architects

The business growth award went to Sign Architects - Credit: Bonnie Britain

The club's managing director Steve Thompson, who accepted the award, said it hosted 200 people and slept 20 on that night.

He added: "What we have tried to do over the past 20 years is be part of the community.

Eastbrookend Country Park tea rooms and Sensor Coating Systems received commendations from the judges

Eastbrookend Country Park tea rooms and Sensor Coating Systems received commendations from the judges - Credit: Bonnie Britain

"I am really proud of our football club and our community."

A special award was also presented to Dame Margaret Hodge, who announced last year that she would not seek re-election as Barking MP.

Dame Margaret Hodge received a special award

Dame Margaret Hodge received a special award after serving as Barking MP since 1994 - Credit: Bonnie Britain

Jamie Banks, president of the borough's chamber of commerce, said the evening was about "recognising the success of our local businesses and business people, their achievements, vision, passion and contribution to the local community."

Jamie Banks, president of Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce

Jamie Banks, president of Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce - Credit: Bonnie Britain

Awardgoers join in with a rendition of Sweet Caroline

Awardgoers join in with a rendition of Sweet Caroline - Credit: Bonnie Britain

Full winners

Business of the year: Care Optics

Jubilee Award: Dagenham & Redbridge FC (highly commended - PartyBox and London School of Management Education)

Judges Award one to watch: Eastbrookend Country Park tea rooms; highly commended: Sensor Coating Systems

Business person of the year: Carole Pluckrose, The Boathouse

Business located outside Barking and Dagenham which is trading in Barking and Dagenham: The Baby Bank HQ

Employee of the year: Alex Rowley, Sycamore Trust

Home grown talent: PartyBox

Employer of the year: Care Optics

Innovation and diversification in the use of digital media: Laura I Art Gallery CIC

Customer service: Ritchies Bakery

Training, development and supporting education: Care Optics

Business growth: Sign Architects

Best new business: Kromanti Ltd

Sole trader/micro business: Lakshmi Brand Ltd