Prerona – the inspiration to volunteer

For the past 2 years the Asha Neighbourhood Project has been supporting Bangladeshi women from Beeston to volunteer in their community.

The Prerona Volunteer Project (Prerona means ‘Inspiration’ in Bengali), funded by the Peoples Health Trust, aims to help women feel more confident, less isolated and more able to contribute to wider decision making processes and help others to do the same. In particular the volunteers decided to focus on older and more vulnerable women in their community, aiming to improve their mental and physical well-being.

The Prerona Project recently held an event (28 April 2016) to celebrate the past 2 years work with everyone that had taken part; volunteers, beneficiaries and those who have helped support the Project. There was a sea of blue on the day as blue was the dress code for this event!

A film, produced by Vera Media, was shown. The film told the volunteers stories, what they had done, what they had enjoyed, how far they had come personally and their experiences of working with the older and vulnerable women. They talked about the wide range of activities they had taken part in such as the weekend residential at Northern College, day trips out to Lotherton Hall, Leeds Art Gallery, the Royal Armouries, and Leeds Museum. Also, exercise sessions and sessions about how to look after your health and well-being.

The volunteers also talked about their training in mentoring and confidence building, sessions about volunteering, safeguarding, ESOL classes, mental health support and first Aid, and how they were also able to complete a Health and Social Care course, gaining a qualification that improved their confidence to apply for jobs in the caring sector and interpreting. One of the volunteers talked about how being involved in Prerona has opened the door to lots of different opportunities for her.

There was a surprise group activity – gentle dance exercise – arranged with the aim of getting all guests out of their seats and moving to the beat. The celebration ended with dinner and a large celebration cake.

Prerona is managed by Asha’s volunteer co-ordinator Tahena Ahmed, who is Beeston born and bred and has a long association with Asha Neighbourhood Project. If anybody is interesting in volunteering opportunities at the Asha Neighbourhood Project please contact Tahena at or call (0113) 270 4600.


This post was written by Tahena Ahmed using our Create an article for South Leeds Life page.