Bournemouth Poole Christchurch (BPC) Indian Association incorporates Music Lovers Bollywood (MLB)- a non-profit group of about 70 volunteers and over 600 members. They aim to provide a cultural, educational and social platform (events, dance, music, discussions, sporting event etc.) for the South Asian Community in Dorset.
The group, which began in 2019 at a hotel in Bournemouth, first met to share their enjoyment of Bollywood music. When the 100-strong group was forced to stay at home in the lockdown, chairman Ramesh Lal looked for other ways for them to continue connecting. With an ethnic community of 10,000 Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani families in Dorset, Ramesh hoped there would be an audience for a radio show so he approached digital station Hot Radio in Bournemouth which found a slot. An initial £4,500 grant from the foundation’s Dorset Coronavirus Community Fund, helped buy the equipment to go into a studio at newly-recruited presenter Anjali Mavi’s home and the show was born.
Bollywood Beats with Anjali then began broadcasting on June 9 2020, playing its trademark ‘raga to bhangra’ selection of Indian classic and contemporary songs requested by listeners. The show also broadcasted in both English and Hindi, “It’s a link to our audience’s cultural heritage,” said Mr Lal, “It makes them feel at home if they remember a song, it brings back memories and it’s a reminder of their families.”
The grant from Dorset Community Foundation really gave us the confidence that we could do it on a sustainable basis so that was wonderful
The show’s community involvement also spawned Bournemouth Poole Christchurch Indian Community, a Covid response group that produced face masks for the NHS and Indian and Bangladeshi restaurant workers, delivered hot ethnic meals provided by the Russell Court Hotel to older members of the community who were shielding and ran shopping errands.
The group has received a total of 3 grants from Dorset Community Foundation, including a £5,000 grant from Arts Council England to help them host a Bollywood celebration for the Queen’s Jubilee weekend. This event worked with local artists to reflect the artistic identity of the local South Asian Community and celebrate the Jubilee with the participation of community members in dance, music and poetry.