Community elders celebrate thirty years of solidarity

The Beeston-based ‘Group of Muslim Pensioners’ this week celebrated their thirtieth anniversary as an organisation, with a lunchtime event featuring awards, speeches, great food, and a lot of good cheer.

Muslim elders

The group was founded in 1985 by the revered community elder Mr Kawaji Mohammed Sharif, and others. The vision was to create regular opportunities for older men in the local Muslim communities to meet up, learn together, get advice, do exercise, and more; it was the first group of its type in Leeds.

Mr Sharif sadly passed away not long after the formation of the group, in 1988. But the group has since been coordinated by local lady Tahira Khan – and has flourished over the years. Their current year-round activities include dance workshops, trips, exercise and health schemes, growing fruit and vegetables, arts projects, massage, good food, and a lot of in-depth conversations!

One of the speakers was group member and local resident Abid Hussain, who shared his thoughts with the group as follows:

“Family networks used to be so strong, but they’re slowly crumbling away – and many older people are becoming more isolated and vulnerable. So this group has become for many of us a very important meeting point. It gives us a sense of belonging, it preserves identity, and creates mutuality amongst us. In communities, we have to support one another – or we’ve got nothing.”

The group meets between 10am and 12pm every Tuesday at the Vale Centre on Tunstall Road. For more info, drop by at the centre anytime.