Luton Life
Luton Life shines a light on local charity Discover Islam ahead of Eid

Luton Life shines a light on local charity Discover Islam ahead of Eid

May 3, 2022

In the latest episode of The Mall’s community podcast ‘Luton Life’, local charity Discover Islam is celebrated for their outstanding efforts supporting the town’s local residents, especially during the month of Ramadan.

Discover Islam is a community-based organisation that has been in Luton since 2011 and is described as part information centre and museum, and part charity. Their overarching ethos is to encourage people to learn more about Islamic beliefs and practices in a safe space, where there is no judgement or prejudice.

Sujel Miah, one of the management team at Discover Islam, tells host Sophie Sulehria about the conscious effort the centre makes to create a welcoming space and comfortable environment for anyone looking to use their services. Sujel explains “We wanted to make this place accessible for everyone and create understanding about our faith and get people to actually meet Muslims!”. Educational books and Qurans are available on site to anyone seeking more information about the Islamic faith, and opening conversations to gain further knowledge is always encouraged.

Alongside their education goals the charity works with Luton Foodbank, one of The Mall’s chosen charities for the previous four years, to distribute food to the community. The rising cost of living has driven many families to rely on food donations to get by, so these services have never been more valuable. Throughout the month of Ramadan Discover Islam have also distributed food boxes put together to break the fast, including items such as flour, rice and oils. Sujel stresses that all food items are available to anyone in need, not just the Muslim community, and that any deliveries are dignified and discreet for the comfort of their recipients.

Also in the podcast, Sophie spoke to volunteers Hamza and Gulseema to hear stories of some of the regular users of the centre who have transformed their life through the charity. The high proportion of refugees in the area means that many of those who visit the centre have travelled to the UK alone and use the resources as a way to meet new people and become actively involved in their community. Many of those who relied on the centre’s services have also returned as a volunteer, recognising the value of the work that Discover Islam do.

The Mall Luton are keen supporters of Discover Islam and their various projects, providing valuable funds and other support for the creation of their Peace Garden, for food distribution and the curry kitchen.

Lavinia Douglass, Marketing Manager at The Mall Luton, says: “We love supporting Discover Islam and the valuable work they have done over the past decade is truly inspiring. It’s clear to see their efforts have made a monumental difference to the lives of many in our town, particularly throughout the month of Ramadan.”

Lavinia continues, “Our Luton Life podcast is the perfect platform to highlight the continued hard work of the volunteers and resources that anyone in the community can take advantage of – whether they’re seeking a greater understanding of a faith they are unfamiliar with, or a simple hot cup of coffee.”

For further information about the Islamic faith or services that Discover Islam provide, visit the centre in Luton town centre or visit

Celebrating inspirational women in Luton for International Women’s Day 2022

Celebrating inspirational women in Luton for International Women’s Day 2022

March 7, 2022

In this episode, Sophie meets 3 inspiring women doing incredible for the town 

Dr Joan Bailey MBE has dedicated her life's work to supporting youths in the community, to help them realise their potential and find opportunities in spite of adversity.

Kelly Betts is the UK Editor of BBC Introducing... a launchpad for artists including Tom Grennan, James Bay and Jack Garratt. Kelly is Luton born and bred and her tenacity and determination shine through as she talks about her journey from work experience at BBC Three Counties to achieving one of the top jobs in the corporation.  

As Interim Service Director for Inclusive Growth at Luton Town Hall, Sinead McNamara has followed in her Mum's footsteps with her career as a civil servant. Her passion to change people's lives for the better comes through loud and clear as she talks about the projects she is steering to work towards Luton being a town where no-one is living in poverty.

This International Women's Day, The Mall Luton are proud to celebrate these women making a difference and hope you enjoy hearing their stories. 

Bringing public art installation ’Our River’ to life in Luton town centre

Bringing public art installation ’Our River’ to life in Luton town centre

February 7, 2022

The first instalment of Luton Life for 2022 focusses on public art installation Our River, commemorating those lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our River will also mark the support and kindness shown in the community and tell the stories of moments of joy that were found in the midst of the crisis. Keyworkers who contributed to the pandemic response will also be celebrated in the huge mosaic which will be installed on the exterior of The Mall.

In this episode, host Sophie Sulehria explores how the mural came to be and meets some of the incredible individuals who are featured. Sophie follows Project Co-ordinator Maureen Weekes and photographer June Essex as they visit Luton & Dunstable Hospital to capture shots of NHS staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to care for members of the community.

She also speaks to Roy Greening, Centre Manager at The Mall who has been instrumental in bringing the project to life, not least with the logistics of installing the giant mural!

Luton Council is delivering Our River with support from the European Regional Development Fund’s Welcome Back Fund.

Episode 5 : Royal British Legion - talking to veteran and fundraiser Michael Lewis

Episode 5 : Royal British Legion - talking to veteran and fundraiser Michael Lewis

November 10, 2021

As Armistice Day dawns, The Mall Luton is honouring the centenary of the Royal British Legion with a special podcast episode dedicated to the incredible work of the charity.

In this latest episode, host Sophie Sulehria meets Michael Lewis, a veteran who joined the Army Cadet Force at the age of 13, who is now the Community Fundraiser for The Royal British Legion in Bedfordshire. Michael served in the Parachute Regiment in Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq, and talks about his experience of active combat, loss of close comrades and becoming an amputee after an attack by the Taliban.

Michael was medically discharged at the age of 25. Re-entering civilian life was a challenging transition which eventually saw Michael turn his skills to promoting the Poppy Appeal throughout the year, joining the Royal British Legion in Bedfordshire and raising an incredible £500,000 for veterans in the county.

His story is incredible and he speaks with courage and bravery. Michael's service to our country and ongoing commitment to the Royal British Legion, especially in bringing their work to a younger audience, is inspirational.

*Please note this episode contains content some listeners may find challenging *

Level Trust - Episode 4 of Luton Life

Level Trust - Episode 4 of Luton Life

September 9, 2021

Level Trust Podcast - episode 4

In this latest episode we speak to Level Trust, a charity which aims to help families overcome the costs of education so all children in Luton have the chance to love learning in the same as anybody else.

As part of the podcast, you’ll get the chance to listen first-hand from some of the wonderful people from The Level Trust, including the charity’s Chief Executive Jane Malcolm.

The charity supports nearly 5,000 children and families across Luton town every year, helping children learn by providing the necessary resources. Level Trust also closely works alongside schools in Luton to help educate the next generation.

Nearly 50% of Luton children live in relative poverty, meaning the majority of children in the town are coming from some sort of disadvantage, rising 3% since the pandemic. In context, that’s nearly 30,000 children living within relative poverty with 60% less than the average income, seeing many families living off around a £12,000 income a year.

Level Trust provides breakfasts, lunch, free transport to school, school uniform plus additional educational books and toys. The charity also hosts fun and educational activities during the school holidays.

The podcast also explores Level Trust’s new resource and toy shop at The Mall Luton, which solely depends from the kind donations and generosity from people and businesses within the Luton community.

Described as the Willy Wonka for all uniform needs, The Uniform Exchange is located on the Gallery Level at The Mall Luton, stocking top quality uniform for all 73 schools in Luton. The resource centre is also located on the Gallery Level at The Mall.

Luton Life celebrates 30 years of Keech Hospice Care

Luton Life celebrates 30 years of Keech Hospice Care

July 7, 2021

The Mall Luton has released the third episode of their podcast, Luton Life. Marking the start of the Big Trunk Trail which opens in Luton on Saturday 10th July, the latest edition focuses on the work of Keech Hospice Care.

Luton Life is curated by The Mall Luton and aims to shine a light on local groups and charities in the area, providing a platform to discuss their work and the contribution they make to their community.

Keech Hospice Care provide free, specialist care for adults in Luton and south Bedfordshire, and children from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Milton Keynes, who have life-limiting and terminal illnesses. Their specialist care supports adults and children to live pain and symptom free, to spend untroubled time with their family and friends, to understand what’s happening to them, to stay out of hospital and to make the most of the time they have.

As a charity, Keech rely on their supporters for around 70% of their funding. This means they need to raise over £6 million every year (over £16,000 every day!) to continue the specialist care for adults and children, and their families.

Final preparations are being put in place for Keech Hospice Care’s Big Trunk Trail, a spectacular public Wild in Art event coming to Luton this week. Over thirty elephants are taking part which have been used as a canvas for artists to transform them into works of art. As Artistic Partner for the event, The Mall Luton have provided studio space for the elephant transformations.

In this episode, Luton Life host Sophie Sulehria visited Keech Hospice Care to find out more about their work and how they support adults and children with life-limiting illnesses. Sophie also met Beverley Sweetman, the artist chosen by The Mall to create their elephant.

The Mall Luton marks Mental Health Awareness Week with latest episode of Luton Life Podcast

The Mall Luton marks Mental Health Awareness Week with latest episode of Luton Life Podcast

May 10, 2021

To coincide with the start of Mental Health Week, today (10th May) we've released the second edition of our new podcast -  Luton Life. 

This episode shines the light on local support services and explores the stigma around mental health. 

To understand more about how the issue is being tackled at a local level, Luton Life host Sophie Sulehria spoke to the Crisis Café team at Mind BLMK, as well as our own staff here from The Mall Luton. 

In the episode Sophie visited Mind BLMK to find out how they have supported the community over the past year and are continuing to provide essential services to a growing number of people.

Working across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes to promote positive mental health and wellbeing, Mind BLMK is attached to the national charity Mind. The Crisis Cafe in Luton opened their doors in 2020 and offers an alternative approach to help empower people, offer face to face advice and have a safe space to go.

Anyone can visit the Crisis Café, making it easily accessible with no forms to complete, just instant support. The café has an open-door policy for anyone who is facing a mental health crisis and is in need of urgent help.

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Luton Life -Luton Foodbank

Luton Life -Luton Foodbank

March 23, 2021

Luton Foodbank 

As part of this podcast, listeners will have the chance to find out first-hand about the fantastic work carried out by Luton Foodbank, with exclusive access to the warehouse alongside a Q&A session with Salma Khan - Luton Foodbank’s Project Manager.

This podcast focuses on Luton Foodbank and the unsung heroes who work behind the scenes to provide thousands of food parcels to Luton residents every year. The postcast also provides informative content for those who might need to use the services provided by the charity. 

Find out more about Luton Foodbank here.

  • On average, 300 food parcels are distributed across Luton Town a week, that’s over 15,500 a year!
  • Salma and her team work tirelessly to ensure the smooth running of the charity. It’s not just a job it’s about making a difference to someone’s life. 
  • A financial crisis can happen to anyone and it’s Salma and her fantastic dedication from her and the team to ensure no one in Luton goes hungry.
  • The power of kindness among the Luton community is like no other!
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