ANNUAL DINNER PLAY IS ANOTHER HIT
The West End Girls were the stars of the One Voice Annual Dinner as they put on a play on the Evolution of Blackburn Woman.
They started the journey with a reflection of 1967 and the first arrivals from the sub-continent and the issue of the weather and food was at the forefront of their minds. The Girls then moved onto 1977 and discussed the issue of racism in the community, and how the women of the day were so resilient. 1987 saw a little bit of fun as the sketch showed some of the gore dress up to go to a local bhangra event.
The second part of the play saw the years 1997 (which included the launch of the Asian Image and included the very first edition of the newspaper), and concluded with 2017 and a request to the community to give female leadership a chance. Zainab Iqbal played the pivotal role as the only female in a section process to become a community leader.
“I loved the play and it was a great to be part of it. It is such an important message and I was privileged to have been given the role.”
The West End Girls also supported the event from start to finish.
“It was an amazing experience and I had so much fun meeting and greeting people as they arrived at the Annual Dinner. My role was to take people to their tables,” said Shaheena Musa.
“It was a wonderful, once in a lifetime experience, seeing people from different areas of Blackburn come together for the Annual Dinner,” said Taybah Mitha.
The event also saw the old WEGs meet the new team, and there was also an appearance from the founder of WEGs, Mariyah Mahmud.
“WEGs have become a confident group of bright girls who were once again one of the highlights of the Annual Dinner,” said Mariyah.
WEGs HOLD DEMENTIA TALK
WEGs held a dementia session as part of the Baiter Sehat project with the group. The girl’s, aged 13-17, found the session to be extremely informative and insightful.
Taybah said, “I think it was a reminder that dementia is not something we should say people suffer from, rather, it is something people live with.There’s more to a person than dementia.”
Frieda echoed this sentiement. “The session got rid of my misconceptions about dementia and showed me the importance of body language or tone in everyday life.”
Safah said, “The session was an eye opener to the world of people living with dementia.”
The girls all become Dementia Friends and will raise awareness of the condition throughout their peer groups and families.
The Girls Are Rock Steady
The WEGS have been attending regular bouldering sessions. The challenging sessions are designed to hone ones technique and boost confidence. Boulder UK have hosted the WEGs on a six week project in an attempt to get young females from the community to participate in this exciting challenge.
Amina from the WEGS said,
“Bouldering is a very physical and demanding sport which requires a number of different skills. However, I really enjoy it as it’s not completely based on intelligence and more so the physical side which appeals to more to me more than other activities that we have participated in. I really enjoy it and probably will continue going even after the sessions are up.” – Amina
“Going bouldering has changed the way I see rock climbing and I understand how hard it actually is to do bouldering. Overall I really enjoy it because it is a very good training for the future.”
Team Support Remembrance Events
GIRLS LEAD ON LITTER PICKING ENTERPRISE
The West End Girls have been at it again – cleaning up other people’s rubbish!
The WEGs carried out their first sponsored litter picking session in early October. With many thanks to Supreme Plumbing, Ramis, Birdy’s and other local shops from the area for sponsoring WEGs future projects. WEGs were able to spend 2 hours cleaning the area around New Bank Road and it was a great success! Many stopped by to thank and express how grateful they are to see the young people of Blackburn taking care of their local environment.
Safah Layla, a member of WEGs said:
“The litter picking session was a huge eye opener to what the local community do without thinking. Something so small to us has a big collateral damage which we don’t really encounter again. WEGs are hoping to have many more sponsored litter picking sessions around different areas of Blackburn so they can continue to show everyone how littering can damage the environment and to set a good example as role models within our community.”
An early Saturday morning in September saw the WEGs turn up in their hi-viz jackets to clean top parts of Victoria Street in Blackburn as part of a long term project to clean top Blackburn. The girls were recently awarded with a Good Neighbour Award for their part in the Your Community Your Call action to support their local community.
They will conduct weekly ‘sponsored’ litter picks as well as a mass litter pick which took place in early September. The girls will be joined by other groups within the One Voice family to make Blackburn and Darwen a cleaner place. The team will move onto other parts of Blackburn most Saturday mornings (weather permitting).
The Making of the Mela
WEGs were responsible for looking after the bouncy castle, giant slide, sumo wrestling and the assault course as well as ensuring the event ran smoothly. Engaging with those who attended the event allowed the girls to develop their interpersonal skills, build their confidence and deal with the large crowds of children by strategising and thinking on their feet to deal with any situations that arose throughout the day.
Tangina, one of the latest recruits, who attended the Mela for the first time said “The mela was a great success, it was fun seeing so many people taking part in helping and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun! I enjoyed it very much.” The WEGs helped out at the Mela from setting up before the event and then showing their commitment to the organisation by supporting the clean up operation after the event had ended.
Jumble Sale Invokes Community Spirit
WEGs became cunning entrepreneurs for a day trying to raise money for their future projects. After gathering various books and toys from around their households they spent a day selling and engaging with members of the community.
Huma, 14, quoted “By taking part in the jumble sale, the WEGs members and I were able to recognize the value of communication, independence and dedication. The time was spent selling items and engaging in conversations with people from the community – which then further allowed us to build our social skills through the gain of confidence. Overall, it was a great event which helped us reflect on ourselves to inspire and shape our skills for future goals.”
WEGs Back to Business with Mela
The WEGs returned from a three month break of revision and exams to a fun session where they played some ice breaker games including two truths and one lie to bond with the four new eager members.
Following brief introductions and an explanation of the purpose of WEGs and the previous work and projects carried out, they then went through the important dates in the upcoming 1V calendar.
Rahat, Fatima and Aamirah made a timetable and delegated roles for the next most important event which is the One Voice Mela where the WEGs are responsible for taking care of the sumo wrestling, bouncy castle and inflatable slide.
There was also some exciting discussion on the trip abroad that the girls are planning and they brainstormed fundraising ideas.
Girls Support Remembrance Event
A number of the West End Girls supported the local Council’s Let us Remember event. The Corporation Park gathering was attended by the mayor, and organised by the local Coroner Michael Singleton.
Ruksar Hussain led the WEGs team to support the Council and other volunteers on a beautiful summer day. The event marked the passing of loved ones in the previous 12 months, and family members were asked to plant a tree in remembrance. WEGs worked closely with the Friends of Corporation Park to ensure everything ran smoothly.
End of Term Treat
The WEGs and 2020 Vision enjoyed a well deserved end of year dinner. The 2 groups have had an incredibly productive and fun year so far.
As well as being pivotal in the One Voice Annual Dinner, the groups have been involved in community initiatives including litter picking, fundraising, and empowerment campaigns. Individuals within the group have grown both in stature and confidence in the previous nine months.
Both teams have been integral in One Voice’s partnership with Community Integrated Care, a new state of the art dementia care service in Blackburn. Both the WEGS and 2020 Vision are busy planning ahead for the year’s activities.
The Girls Engineer a Great Escape
The WEGs enjoyed a trip to Escape Room in Preston where they had 60 minutes to complete challenges to escape the room.
7 girls participated in The Mummy and 6 took part in Prison Break. In prison break the girls had to crack codes to unlock hints and clues to escape. Aisha Seedat said, “Prison break was challenging and intense yet fun and definitely a day out to remember.”
The trip was a great exercise involving teamwork, leadership and helped the girls to develop skills in communicating effectively to be successful as they managed to escape the mummy within 43 minutes!
WEGs Clean Up the Streets
One Voice took to the streets of Blackburn on Sunday 15th November in a bid to clean up the streets.
As part of the ‘Your Community Your Call’ initiative the WEGs, 2020 Vision, and the Senior Leadership Team at One Voice were involved in the initiative on Victoria Street and Whalley Range in Blackburn.
The damp and cold weather conditions did not deter the participants as more than 20 volunteers attended the two hour long cleaning exercise. The organisation plans further litter picking activities in the new year.
WEGs Lead Aisha Seedat said,
“We had great fun working together as a team, despite the taxing weather conditions. It is wonderful to see so many young people motivated for the same cause. There’s a huge sense of accomplishment after you do something constructive and positive for the town you live in. We ended up collecting 19 bags of rubbish in total.”
Zahra Ahmed, 17, from the WEGS group was pleased to be involved in the clean-up.
“Litter picking is a way of working together in the local community to bring about a positive change to the streets of Blackburn. The WEGS were excited at the chance to make a change within the community and strive to improve developments within our town through such initiatives.
“We are optimistic that members within the area will mirror our enthusiasm and therefore feel encouraged to fulfill this duty and moral obligation in keeping our borough clean.”
Your Community Your Call is an impetus from the Council to reinforce efforts from all local residents to keep the borough clean and tidy.
The WEGS embarked upon a successful litter picking exercise in Whalley Range in Blackburn earlier this year in July. They are also planning further litter picking sessions on routes into Blackburn to ensure that their home town is seen in the very best light.
Councillor Mohammed Khan, leader of the Council, said: “I am delighted to hear about young people helping out to make the borough a better place to live, work and visit. This is exactly what Your Call is all about.”
Visitors Give Insightful Advice
PROMINENT figures in law and medicine visited the West end Girls during the latter part of 2015 to offer career advice to the group.
The WEGS held an informative and insightful meeting with eminent Barrister Momammed Nowaz, who hails from Blackburn, and GP Dr. P Muzaffar. The visitors gave short talks on their own journeys to the top of their professions while taking questions from the girls throughout the two sessions.
The guests were impressed with the attitude of the girls with Dr Muzaffar saying, “I can honestly say that even at this age I can see a few of these girls going to a very high level in the medical field. I was delighted that I was asked so many questions. They had done their homework.”
The visits have continued from last year when the girls spoke to a headteacher and a BBC journalist. Empowerment to achieve and the opportunity to succeed are key purposes of WEGs and the group will host further prominent visitors in 2016.
Zaire Ahmed of WEGs said, “I found the conversations with the professionals extremely valuable. It was interesting to hear of the barrister’s experiences, and it was a nice touch for him to bring his wig and cloak. The fact that he lived and studied in Blackburn has really motivated us all.”