An Action-Packed February-image

An Action-Packed February

07 Mar, 2018

Even if it's the shortest month of the year February certainly wasn't short on action for our team. On top of the regular day to day program of activities and support for the community that we provide at the centre, several members of our team were in attendance at some very special events.

Each event has been valuable in helping us to raise awareness of the services we provide and also continue to bring attention to the causes that we are tirelessly working to provide solutions for.

Here's a rundown of what we got up to:

8th February - Better Together Service User Involvement

During the day of the 8th February, we hosted a service user feedback session with the other service providers who are part of the Better Together Partnership. Better Together is a union of Shantona, Feel Good Factor, Space 2, Touchstone and Zest, also known as the Orion Partnership. Collectively we have over 70 years' experience of using individual centred and community centred approaches; engaging, informing, inspiring, connecting and empowering people to take positive actions to transform their health and wellbeing.

This event was an opportunity for those who have received help and support from the Better Together Partnership and the services and activities we have provided to give us their thought's and feedback on their experiences-so we can keep making continued improvements going forward.

Here are some examples of the feedback we received 'we would like to get involved with organising some of the events' and 'the events you organise need more publicity'.

The service users also told us that their favourite events organised under the Better Together partnership are:

Men's group



Food and mood

Growing in confidence

8th February - 'Speak: Voices Against Violence' Women's Paths Research Group

On the evening of the 8th February our CEO, Nahid Rasool, Adult Services Coordinator, Katayoun Keyhani, and Marketing Manager, Katy Noble attended a seminar at Leeds University that was hosted by the Women's Paths Research Group.

The evening was an inspiring spectacle of talks, presentations and visual displays from the following three representatives of local women's groups and incentives:

Nahid Rasool-Shantona Women's and Family Centre

Leeds Animation Workshop-Terry Wragg

Leeds Women's Lives-Jackie Offed

The event was centred on the fact that February marks the annual international campaign One Billion Rising, a global movement which seeks to end sexual violence against women and girls.

As well as speeches and presentations, three animated short films were showcased at the event, one of which included a film produced by ourselves called HOPE which is about domestic abuse in Asian communities. The film was made as part of a partnership with Shantona, Space 2 and some of the students at Allerton Grange High School.

As well as two other fantastic films by the Leeds Animation Workshop called 'THEY CALL US MAIDS' and 'GIVE US A SMILE, the first of which tackles the subject of the bad experiences some of the migrant domestic workers have experienced, leaving their homes to find work abroad. The second film showcases the daily harassment women experience, and its effects on women, as well as confronting the media stereotyping and 'street humour' women experience throughout the daily lives.

The event was a fantastic example of the vital work being undertaken to raise awareness of such issues by women and other female influencers in Leeds, and we were delighted to have been able to be a part of it.


9th February - Centenary Cities: 100 years of Votes for Women | Improving Women's Voices and Influence

On Friday 9th February Jaswant Toor and Kushma Islam from our team represented Shantona an event held at the Leeds Civic Hall as part of the celebration to mark 100 years of women's right to vote. We promoted the services that we provide at Shantona and encouraged women to get involved in different activities. We also got the ladies to join in with our hula hoop activity which was quite a laugh and a lot of fun, a lot of the ladies didn't hesitate to have a go!

The speech by the Lord Mayor of Leeds was inspiring, followed by a number of other women speakers reminding us how women fought to change and shape today's society.

We are always happy to come along and attend or speak about what we do at relevant events. If you would like one of our team to attend your event, then please make sure you get in touch by emailing or call 0113 2497120


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  • 'I came to the UK five years ago that time I wasn't able to speak any English. By attending Shantona women centres ESOL courses two years at the moment I am studying GCSE English with Thomas Danby College. Also, I'm involved in childcare volunteer with Shantona. I have done ESOL entry one and two, childcare level one, let's play together, story sacks numeracy which was provided by Shantona women centre. I would like to thank Shantona for helping me improve my confidence. Also, I will suggest people like me should come to Shantona and attend the activity they are providing and support them to go further.'

    Previous service user now a volunteer worker at Shantona's creche

  • 'I used to walk past Shantona all the time without knowing what they did, until one day I was referred through social care services. I received support and realised there were other women just like me and that I wasn’t alone and my bad relationship experiences were not normal. I joined in with DV awareness raising sessions and workshops, they made such a huge difference and helped me regain my confidence enough to start speaking out about my own experiences of DV during the '16 days of action' event.'

    Adult Service User

  • 'I have learned how to stay safe online and using social media. I have become more confident to talk about my problems with my support worker and my self-esteem is increasing'

    Young People's Service User

  • 'At first I accepted that forced marriage was part of the cultural norm, but now I realise that it is wrong'

    Young People's Service User

  • 'I have seen changes in the students, the students are considering the bigger picture more and other aspects of issues affecting them. When challenged about their views or behaviour I see a more reflective student as before. I see Shantona's role as an external agency that can provide targeted intervention for groups of our young people who require closer attention. School do not have the expertise and knowledge to provide such material at the level and intensity that Shantona can.'

    Sat Hundal Deputy for Behaviour & Safeguarding Allerton Grange School

  • 'I feel much happier and confident that I’m getting my life back on track. I have started to attend groups to help expand my knowledge and make new friends.'

    Adult Service User

  • 'When the girls started to come to the girl's group all they were interested in was turning 16 and being able to get married…now they realise how important their education is and are looking to the future and thinking about going to University and getting jobs. Through informal education, we have raised their aspirations'

    Youth Worker

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