Published June 14, 2019 at 12:43
A multi-cultural Eid celebration united families from the Syrian Project with users of an innovative council employability and wellbeing scheme.
There was a welcoming atmosphere in the community café at The Boo, in Waterfoot, as the diverse communities shared food, chatted and danced together.
Every Friday afternoon the café is used as a drop in by the Rossendale Council scheme Rossendale Works, which was set up in conjunction with Active Lancashire and is now funded by a grant from the Department of Work and Pensions.
Rossendale Works Project Manager Paul Becouarn said:
This was the first major event to be organised by the scheme since it received funding from the Department of Work and Pensions.
It was Support Worker Hussain Khan’s idea and he did all the planning. It was a lovely way of bringing these very different communities together and breaking down barriers.
We have been working very closely with Rossendale Leisure Trust and families on the Syrian Project to provide free gym access to get them active and help to integrate them into the community.
We raised £505 in just 48 hours to run the Eid celebration and most of the money came from private donations from the local community.
This allowed us to bring together communities from various backgrounds, so we have refugees and asylum seekers and also people from Rossendale Works who are in recovery.
The food was served by residents from Emerging Futures a project in Waterfoot supporting clients who access Rossendale Works to get active to aid their recovery.
They sat down together to eat and chat and when they music started they united on the dance floor in celebration.
Thirteen-year-old Mohammed came to England last year from Sudan with his family to escape the fighting.
He speaks excellent English, having learnt it in school while in Sudan, and now attends high school in Rossendale.
He acted as interpreter when Hussain, Paul and Zoe Houston, Senior Project Worker for Emerging Futures, addressed the guests.
I now live in Rawtenstall; we came here to escape the troubles in my country. It is a lot quieter and calmer living here.
Rossendale Works was a 12-month pilot project, but thanks to the grant it has expanded into two schemes – one for people ready for work placements and the second to improve service users wellbeing.
Portfolio holder for Economic Development Councillor Jackie Oakes said:
Rossendale Works has been a huge success and continues to achieve beyond all expectations because it is innovative. The Eid celebration is a perfect example of how it unites communities.
Thanks to the DWP funding, the scheme has expanded. Rossendale Works helps people who are job ready to seek placements and employment while Rossendale Futures provides a holistic approach to improving participants’ wellbeing by offering free activities.