By ANISAH ARIF
The MP for Bradford West and Shadow Minister for women and equalities, Naz Shah, opened Islamic Relief’s new office on Saturday 24 November at Legrams Terrace in BD7.
The MP has been a long-term devotee of the charity and an ambassador for the organisation’s Honour Her campaign, which intends to tackle violence against women and girls. The speech highlighted the campaign, her partnership with Islamic Relief and the excellent commitment of hundreds of Bradford volunteers to support important humanitarian and development work, intentionally and in the UK.
She said: ‘It’s a great pleasure to open Islamic Relief’s Bradford office today. I am proud to be an ambassador for the Honor Her campaign, particularly pertinent at this time of year when we are supporting the 16 days of action against violence against women. We all have a responsibility, as Muslims, as humanitarians, to call urgently for the eradication of any form of gender based violence, and working with Islamic Relief is an important part of my own responsibility to do that.
‘I’d also like to recognise the hundreds of Bradford volunteers who work incredibly hard to raise vital funds for people around the world living in poverty; as well as supporting those in need in our own community. Giving up time and energy to help others is what community is all about, and that’s what Islamic Relief is all about to me.’
This new regional office would make Islamic Relief’s seventh in the UK. Providing a long-awaited work space for local community volunteers, the office also gives way for creativity, passion, and enthusiasm which has been responsible for some of the charity’s biggest national fundraising events such as Cakes for Syria and Eid in the Park.
Islamic Relief has had a presence in the city for more than 25 years, but previously operated from a room above a shop on Carlisle Road. The new building will be a hub for a growing number of dedicated volunteers who are helping to expand the charity’s work n the city and across the region.
Habib Khan, Islamic Relief’s community partnerships coordinator and local resident, said: ‘The new office in BD7 is right at the heart of the Muslim community in Bradford. Many volunteers here have been loyally supporting us for more than 20 years.
‘Last year alone, Bradford volunteers raised more than half a million pounds to support life-saving humanitarian work in crisis-hit countries like Syria and Yemen, where we are providing food, water, shelter kits, blankets and medicines.
‘With this new space and investment in our volunteers, we are really hoping to double the amount raised in the next few years.’