WomenZone Newsletter December 2022
WomenZone Newsletter December 2022
Death always scared me to my core. Watching burials as a Pakistani girl, I witnessed the rituals.
Maut aik din sab ko aati hai (Urdu: Death comes to all), would say the elders. Kis ki pata si k aj isna aakhri diyarha ai. (Punjabi – Mirpuri dialect: Who knew it would be his/her last day).
As a Muslim, I was taught that death is part of life. I was very close to my father. After my marriage dissolved, I argued about the consequences of his choices; the forced marriage, the new home 4,000 miles away, the struggle as a single-parent. I was blessed to hear his apology and heartfelt sorrow. I was blessed for being able to visit him in Pakistan to apologise for being harsh with him. Days before his death, we argued further. He passed away suddenly after a spell of illness, peacefully and gracefully. My guilt lived on but so did his soul as a spirit guide. I was keen to not to repeat this experience with my mother, who I regularly clashed with. I quashed any outstanding conflicts with her whilst she was alive, as a way to beat life to it this time, before life beat me.
Today, their deaths have rewritten my understanding of death. Abba and Amma, not a day goes by when I don’t miss you. My soul is at peace because I finally understand – your death has not separated us, instead it has reconnected us. It has reconnected me to myself.
Rubina Khalid, CO-CEO at WomenZone
In the early days of the pandemic, Rubina Khalid, Co-CEO, like millions of others, found herself wondering how she and her colleagues at WomenZone could continue to support the hundreds of women that come through their doors each year with such unprecedented restrictions on social contact. Read the full article here.
As we celebrate Independence Day 75 years on from the partition, Zareen Parveen, a lovely member from our wellbeing group, shares her story from when she was 12 years old. Read the full article here
Through lockdown, WomenZone, who are based at Hubert Street, Bradford, have been busy developing their new baby and toddler play gym called ‘The Play Gym’ and their new healthy café called ‘Hubert Street Kitchen’ for parents and under fours living in the BD3, BD4 and BD5 area of Bradford.
The main aim of The Play Gym and Hubert Street Kitchen is to create ‘big little moments’ of interaction, learning and play between parent and baby. There will also be a playworker based at The Play Gym to promote parent and baby interactions, as research shows that these positive interactions have a great impact on early brain development and ongoing learning, leading to happier and healthier lives as adults.
Sadia Sajid, Development Manager at WomenZone, said: “After months of hard work, The Play Gym and Hubert Street Kitchen are finally here! These new spaces will provide valuable play and healthy eating opportunities for families, encouraging parents to learn practical techniques in which they can support their child’s development. As a result of this project, we hope to enhance the relationship between parents and their children to build lasting bonds. We would like to thank Better Start Bradford’s Innovation Fund, without which we would not have been able to offer these exciting opportunities to local families.”
Gill Thornton, Head of Programme at Better Start Bradford, said: “Our Innovation Fund has provided an exciting opportunity for our community to test and learn new approaches to support and enhance the first years of life.
“By providing a play facility and healthy café, WomenZone are not only providing fun, creative spaces for families with young children, but are also providing parents and carers with the opportunity to access support, practical training and advice.”
During their Launch Week, which runs from Monday 17 May to Thursday 20 May, 9.30am – 2.30pm, WomenZone will run one-hour tours of the centre, where the public will get exclusive access to The Play Gym and Hubert Street Kitchen, Her Gym and get involved with the family activities on offer.
WomenZone are also offering exclusive taster offers and freebies for Her Gym, Hubert Street Kitchen and more during the Launch Week only. WomenZone has recently gone through a rebrand to transform their branding to better reflect their expansion of the centre, diverse communities they serve and the future direction of the organisation. WomenZone are now more than a Community Centre with Her Gym, The Play Gym, Hubert Street Kitchen and much more. WomenZone are excited to take their aims of empowering women across the district to the next level with the new facilities.
To book a tour, visit www.womenzone.co.uk or call 01274 665270, with your preferred time and the quantity of tickets needed (every person will require an advance ticket, including babies and children). To keep everyone safe and in line with Government guidance around COVID-19, WomenZone are accepting ten people per time slot, so book early to avoid disappointment.
In response to the pandemic Womenzone Community Centre in BD3 made a commitment to support vulnerable communities across the Bradford district, after receiving funding from the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Give Bradford and the National Lottery Community Fund.
Since the start of lockdown, Womenzone have provided food provision and clothing for over 600 families, including refugees and asylum seekers from around the world and will continue to do so as COVID-19 continues.
During October half term, Womenzone pledged to provide 50 meals over 5 days to children in need, during the #NoChildShouldGoHungry campaign on Twitter, supported by Footballer Marcus Rashford MBE. In the end, they provided 550 hot meals, 40 food parcels and clothing for over 1000 people.
Womenzone has been operating as a food bank since March 2020, serving those in need in BD3 and the wider district, alongside many other services for families, including befriending, English for Everyone, employability, online activities and sports sessions.
Lubna Khalid, Family Outreach Worker of Womenzone said, “As a response to the pandemic Womenzone decided to offer support to the community, by providing food and clothes to vulnerable families in Bradford. The clothes were donated by Sainsbury’s which we are incredibly
grateful for. We are also liaising with other community organisations to reach the neediest of those communities. Please do contact us if you require our support.”
Now they ask that anyone in need, in particular women and their families, should get in contact with them to see if they can offer essential food and clothing.
If you require Womenzone’s support, or you know anyone else who does – contact Lubna Khalid at Womenzone at email@example.com or call 01274 665270.
Bradford charity Womenzone has supported over 100 low-income families in the local community through online support services during the coronavirus pandemic.
The charity is also working with Bradford Council to arrange support for 200 vulnerable women and girls who could be experiencing loneliness or isolation during the lockdown and offer support in a variety of languages.
Womenzone have provided resources from national charities to help the local community. They have worked with the Muslim Women’s Council to provide food parcels, Sport England to deliver online activities and the Literacy Trust, who donated books for children and families.
They are also offering online fitness classes, meetings and creating activity packs for users, including a specific scheme to contact over 55s who may be isolated as a result of social distancing.
Volunteers from the charity have been organising talks on Zoom, Whatsapp and posting on social media to keep users up to date on the latest coronavirus news and to provide information on upcoming events.
Womenzone Centre Co-ordinator, Humma Nizami, said: “Womenzone has helped communities across Bradford to maintain their mental and physical wellbeing through a range of online and virtual services including providing telephone befriending support to lonely and isolated women, distributing activity packs and food vouchers to vulnerable and low-income families who on free school meals, delivering fitness classes and healthy eating, supporting our over 55’s wellbeing group on using online tools such as Zoom and WhatsApp video call.
“The majority of our service users are from South Asian backgrounds and have language barriers due to English not being their first language. Therefore it was important that we continued to support them through our helpline and Digital Wellbeing Service where our staff offered advice and information on Covid-19 in a range of languages which worked well as we were able to reassure them and provide up to date advice release through the Government’s daily briefings.
“We are following the Government social distancing guidelines to ensure the safety of all our service users, staff and volunteers which at the moment is our main priority. We hope to re-open our centre safely in the next few months once lockdown has eased with clear guidance from the Government.”
Womenzone is based in Bradford Moor and is formed of volunteers from the local community who support women from the South Asian community, including people who have recently arrived in the community as well as first and second-generation migrants.