KASHMIR WELFARE ASSOCIATION
visit our official website click on the link: (www.pkwa.org.uk)
Pakistan and Kashmir Welfare Association (PKWA) is a grassroots, community association
operating from a purpose-built centre in the heart of Batley. We are committed
to providing social, welfare and educational services to the general public, and
in particular to the Pakistani and Kashmiri communities, of Batley; and to campaigning
for positive social change on a range of issues.
PKWA was established by a group of community activists in 1990. At the outset
the PKWA had no premises or resources, and initial meetings were held at the homes
of the founding members, who also supported the development of the organisation
from their own personal resources. The initiative to form the Association arose
out of growing concerns that locally the people of the Pakistani and Kashmiri
community were facing exclusion in a number of key areas, such as health, housing,
education and employment. Evidence from community consultation, local authority
surveys and census data, as well as the anecdotal experiences reported by the
community, indicated that the Pakistani and Kashmiri communities were suffering
from extraordinarily high levels of poverty, ill-health, and unemployment; and
the feeling was that the situation was likely to become permanent for the next
generations unless serious remedial action was taken to tackle the root causes.
founder members put together a mission statement and one of the terms of reference
was to establish a community centre to meet the needs of the community. In the
mid 90's, after many long struggles, the PKWA won funding from Batley City Challenge
to build a community centre, and in 1998 the building was officially opened. Initially,
the centre was manned entirely by volunteers, as we only received a capital grant
from Batley City challenge, and neither Batley City Challenge nor Kirklees Council
provided any revenue funding to pay for a centre manager, development worker or
other key workers. Undaunted by the difficult task that we had set ourselves;
we commenced our work programme with four key aims always in mind:
To alleviate the acute problems within the South Asian community of Batley; which
we identified as high unemployment, social deprivation, low educational attainment,
low participation in community activities, and poor involvement in community activities
by Asian women.
2. To promote good relations, a positive image and a
higher profile for the Asian community in Batley in the social and business context.
To work in collaboration with other agencies and communities to address the disadvantage
faced by the Pakistani and Kashmiri communities, and to support other disadvantaged
4. To provide a means for improving information and advice
around health and social care issues, and to improving access to health and social
Over the years since the PKWA Centre opened we have not received
a single penny from Kirklees Council to meet core costs, yet we have still managed
to use the building as a base to provide a bewildering array of services and activities,
and to co-ordinate several important research projects and campaigns. Below is
a list of just some of the activities that we are currently engaged in or that
we have provided in the past:
have undertaken and facilitated a number of research projects into the health
and social needs of the local South Asian community.
· The Mental
Health needs analysis for the South Asian community North Kirklees.
The Asian Carers needs analysis, North Kirklees.
· Department of Health
funded research into ethnicity, drugs and offending.
· Research into
the social support needs of Asian elders.
· The support needs analysis
of young Asian carers in North Kirklees.
· The support needs analysis
of single parents and teenage parents in the South Asian community.
The housing support needs analysis of young Asians.
· The support needs
analysis of young Asian's with drug and alcohol dependencies.
childcare support needs analysis of South Asian parents in North Kirklees.
ESOL classes for women.
· ESOL classes for men.
· Sewing classes
· Shama older women's group.
· Respect older men's
· Roshan women's mental health group.
· Rashme men's
mental health group.
· Internet drop-in sessions.
& translation service.
· Cultural events.
· Benefits advice.
Facilities for weddings and social functions.
· Surgeries for immigration
& nationality matters.
· Alim extended learning centre.
Private tuition classes.
· KIDZ SPACE out of school & holiday club
for school aged children.
· Community education and raising standards
of achievement for school children.
· Youth club and youth residential
visits and trips.
· Apna men's carers group.
· Hamara women's
· Carers respite garden and room.
information, advice & guidance service.
· Social services contract
for mental health day care service.
· Hamdard advocacy service
Summer play schemes.
· No-Jawan personal advice service for young people.
Healthy eating/exercise programmes.
· Training courses on personal &
professional development, e.g. assertiveness, confidence building, cultural diversity
training, time management, ICT, communication skills, bilingual skills development,
coping with and challenging racism etc.
halls: two large halls for public meetings, weddings, etc. Can be joined into
one extra large hall.
suite 1: classroom / meeting room, can accommodate up to 30 people.
suite 2: flexible use space, can serve as meeting room, crèche &
classroom, can accommodate up to 60 people & can be divided into two separate
suite: 12 broadband networked PCs.
semi-commercial kitchen, can be used as training facility for catering classes.
garden site with 16 individual beds for use by community groups.
range of toys and educational materials for ages 2 to 11
Jacks outdoor play area.
& reception support facilities.
and competitive catering services available
space for up to 50 cars.
FOR THE FUTURE:
we have come a long way in our relatively short history, there are still great
inequalities faced by the Pakistani and Kashmiri communities of North Kirklees
in the key areas of health, education, employment and housing; and some days it
feels as if things are worse now than they were in 1990 when the PKWA was first
established. Indeed, in some areas things have taken a downturn. Over the last
few years, for instance, there has been a massive increase in the numbers of Pakistani
and Kashmiri men entering the prison system -the disengaged schoolchildren that
we saw in the early 1990s, these are the children of the first generation settlers,
who have turned to drugs and petty crime in the absence of other positive choices.
And with a depressing inevitability, the resettlement and drug treatment services
have not managed to culturally align themselves to the needs of these young men,
and once in the prison system they are far less likely than their white counterparts
to access the services that will support them on release and help prevent them
of course we cannot ignore the changed political context caused by the British
invasion of Iraq and the terrible London bombings of July '05. These events have
left many ordinary Pakistani and Kashmiri people feeling like terror suspects
by default in the country which they regard as their home; and those same events
have also raised some enormously serious questions about how the mainstream Muslim
community can tackle extremist elements within our midst, whilst at the same time
reserving the right to legitimate dissent about what many consider to be Britain's
deeply misguided foreign policy.
these issues are informing our vision for the future. We are currently working
to develop a post custody resettlement service for South Asian ex-offenders, which
we hope will offer a viable alternative to an offending lifestyle. We are also
continuing to engage in the debate following the London bombings, and have made
repeated commitments to support any work that challenges violence and promotes
only legitimate dissent.
our primary strategic aim for the future is the same now as it was in 1990: namely,
to develop positive relationships with the local policy makers and service providers,
in order to better inform the development of policy and the delivery of services.
It must be said that we have not always felt that our aims and the aims of the
policy-makers have been in concert, and we have become wary of being used simply
to enable over-stretched officials to 'tick the race inclusion box', without actually
affecting any real improvements in the lives of our community members. We have
learned that as a cash-strapped community organisation, there is often an assumption
that we will be persuaded to deliver health and welfare services at unsustainable
prices, simply to bring in much needed resources; and to this end it has been
in the interests of those over-stretched officials to keep us in a state of penury,
ever-willing to accept any crumbs from the table. But it is not the PKWA's mission
to assist bureaucrats to meet their bureaucratic obligations, and we will continue
to put the wider interests of the local Pakistani and Kashmiri communities before
the short term interests of the PKWA as an organisation - regardless of the cost
to the PKWA. We do, however, continue to work towards persuading the policy makers
that sustaining impoverished racial ghettos is not in the long term interests
of either the Pakistani and Kashmiri communities, or of wider society; and that
in the end everybody pays the price for poverty.
will continue to work to the principle that the muscle that meets no resistance
does not grow strong (with PKWA being the resistance). To that ends we will continue
to perform the role of critical friend to the local policy makers, be they the
local Primary Care Trusts, the Government Office, or the Local Authority. We will
also continue to work to change the culture of policy-makers, so that our comments
are sought before they are expressed as criticisms, and that when criticisms are
made that they are listened to as constructive attempts to assist improvement,
and not simply dismissed or excused out of fear of blame.