I first met Farouk, nearly 25 years ago when I began my career in the community sector as a project worker with the South Leeds Elderly Group. Farouk was the chairman and one of the founders and although the organisation was a very small outfit with only two part-time staff, it was clear he had an ambitious vision for the community.
At the time he was running a small timber yard in Holbeck but without fail, he would arrive in the office every day and discus his ideas to improve community facilities in the locality. Encouraged by his passion, we began to form alliances in the community and he was instrumental in helping develop the ‘Faith Together in Leeds11’ consortium, through his links with the different faith and community leaders in the area.
Over the next few years we worked very closely to develop the Hamara Centre and it is fair to say that without Farouk’s selflessness, commitment and drive, what is now a thriving organisation would not have existed. He would often spend more time in the office and attending community meetings than he would running his own business. Even when he eventually moved to London for employment, on his return he would first visit the Hamara Centre, before going home to see the family.
We had no real idea at the outset how we were going to raise the several million pounds to develop and operate the centre but Farouk was an optimist and his enthusiasm rubbed off on the rest of us. Six years after we started the campaign, in 2004 Farouk proudly opened the doors to the Hamara Centre, an organisation he cared about enormously and one where he remained actively involved until his untimely death.
His 30 plus years of unstinting service to the community often went unheralded but his gentle demeanour endeared him to all he met and his among his many attributes was his reluctance to take any credit or be at the forefront for his achievements.
He was one of the most community spirited individuals I had the pleasure of knowing. A man who would put the needs of others before his own and who in his own quiet unassuming manner would get things done quietly and efficiently.
Farouk was a very well-known figure not only in Beeston but throughout the city He will be sadly missed by many, but his legacy to the community, particularly in Beeston is a great tribute to him and his family. He will be remembered fondly by those of us who knew him and will be an enormous loss to the voluntary and community sector.
This post was written by Hanif Malik
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