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An Evening of Elegance

By: Unaisa Baker

Table set with silverware, napkin and golden table feature with table number three on a stand

Organised by The Trauma Healing Collective, The Evening of Elegance is an annual event for women and girls aged 15+. It is an evening of sisterhood, compassion, enjoyment and building new bonds. This year, the Evening of Elegance took place on Friday the 8th of September 2023.

This year, the event consisted of so much more than what most events have to offer. Rather than the standard talk and a meal, The Trauma Healing Collective wanted to offer something special and unique to their guests. There was nothing ordinary about anything that evening, and an amazing time was had by all.

The night began with guests arriving at the beautifully decorated Crescent Hall, Luton. A location easily accessible, guests were able to arrive and park with ease. Women arrived excited to spend time with one another having had the unique opportunity to dress up for a women-only event. That’s right, a lady-only evening catered just for you. Tonight, was all about women, a night to pamper, enjoy and a night to remember.

No one likes to wait around at an event, and there was no such reason to tonight. With a well-thought-out itinerary, guests were excited for the evening ahead and knew exactly what to expect. Upon arrival, the ladies were greeted by the wonderful volunteers, handed a refreshing drink, and guided to their tables to get comfortable. Whilst waiting for their loved ones to arrive, they were encouraged to float around the tantalising stalls which had all things beauty and all things desserts. From Abaya’s and natural skin care products to delicious halal sweets and empowering mugs, everyone had the opportunity to leave with something.

The evening began with a lively and wonderful introduction by The Trauma Healing Collective’s very own, Kamillah Lacey. As the host for the evening, Kamillah guided all the attendees the entire night, sharing her heartfelt insights and encouraging those who spoke on stage. It was important to the organisation that every woman in the room felt welcome, comfortable, and excited for what the evening had to offer. With heart-warming poetry to open the evening, there was an uplifting feeling shared with everyone. The theme tonight was empowerment, encouragement and most importantly, empathy.

The agenda tonight consisted of women sharing what they love; whether it be business-related or their very touching experiences. Women-owned businesses filled the room and some even shared the origin of where it all began for them. The guests had the rare opportunity to make a unique connection with these women’s stories and some may have even felt encouraged.

First came the quiz which consisted of some brainteasers which were the perfect ice-breakers for all, followed by a wonderful meal. Starters were served on each table; from hot chicken tikka masala drumsticks to kebabs, the tables were certainly not short of anything delicious. The mains came out right on time, (once again, no waiting around for anyone!) and the options were pleasantly received. From lamb curry, chicken curry, daal and potatoes to the regularly topped-up warm Naan bread, there was plenty to go around, and plenty kept coming! Everyone’s appetites were satisfied with a delicious ice cream and gulaab jamen dessert followed by a wonderfully warm cup of chai.

Some women bravely chose to share their own stories that evening. And of them, was the brave and beautiful Grenfell survivor, Hanan Wahabi. Hanan was kind enough to come up on stage and share her devastating experience in the Grenfell Tower tragedy. She shared what it was like to suddenly lose some of the most important people in your life. Hanan gave the guests a wonderfully insightful and extremely powerful reminder of realising that it’s important to fight and stand against injustice. On this evening, the guests learnt what it must feel like to lose core parts of yourself and then the need to rebuild everything from scratch. The support and love Hanan was given from the audience was warm, and it was easy to tell she had touched every heart in the room.

After warmly thanking such an incredible guest speaker, the evening continued. “We’ve kept the best for last – including the gift bags so you all stick around!” Kamillah had laughed into the mic, the audience laughing with her. “But first, let’s announce the best-dressed winners!” The two best-dressed ladies were voted for and called up to receive prizes, courtesy of The Healing Trauma Collective.

Finally, the auction had begun and within a couple of minutes…£200 had already been raised! The ladies did not hold back with their bidding and what an entertaining sight it was. With applause each time something was settled on, the auction was no doubt a successful one – as was the evening! The Evening of Elegance was once again, a special night to remember.

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