Our History

Established in 1998 by local Bangladeshi women, Shantona sought to provide a separate, safe place for women, children and young people in the Bangladeshi community. Today, Shantona recognises ever-changing communities, responds accordingly and has grown into a diverse and multi-cultural organisation serving the wider BAME community. Our focus still remains on local people, local issues and their needs; this will never be compromised.

Our work has received various awards and recognition for the strengths, achievements and the positive impact made in the community, such as the Duke of York community initiative awards in 2007 and 2012, A1 Business Excellence, and a recently produced Hope Film project received a Leeds Young Film Makers Golden Owl award from Leeds Council. In 2017 our CEO Nahid Rasool also received an Honorary Doctorate for her valued contribution to the public sector.

'Since 1998 Shantona has shown how the power of willingness, passion and belief can change the lives of people and attitudes within the community. Today the organisation has managed to raise the aspirations, self-belief and confidence within families to challenge unacceptable behaviour.

With a multi-cultural understanding and knowledge, Shantona has helped many families who have come from the most vulnerable backgrounds with tailored support that best deals with their situation.

We have gone through our own difficulties, various stages of development, an extension of our building but nothing has stopped us from delivering extremely effective support to children, young people and their families.'

Nahid Rasool, Director

Awards and Achievements

The teams tireless work and dedication to Shantona have steered the organisation in achieving numerous accolades and awards. Most notably the ‘Duke of York Community Initiatives Award’ was won in 2007 and 2012. Shantona also received an A1 Business Excellence award for ‘Best Women’s Centre’ in 2015. In 2007, Nahid was involved as a coordinator from the UKin ‘Genderwise’ transnational European project, looking at gender equality issues before the policy came into practice. 8 Partners from various countries in EU such as Brussels, Italy, Spain and Denmark were involved. Nahid managed to bring cross sectoral, multi-agency approach to push this agenda. Leading the team Nahid's determination and passion in her work has steered the organisation towards great success in delivering various projects locally, nationally and internationally, with the centres projects often been used as a template by authorities and other charity organisations to assist those in need worldwide.

In 2017 Nahid was delighted to have received Honorary Doctorate from Leeds Beckett University for her work and tireless dedication and significant contribution to public and voluntary services.


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Keep up to date with all that's happening here at Shantona.

Welcome to our new website - Celebrating 20 years

10 Dec, 2018

Welcome to our new website! As part of our 20th-anniversary celebrati...

Shake up and Shape up - Boys Summer Activities

12 Jul, 2018

We will be running summer activities for boys between the ages of 11-15 ye...

Healthy summer play scheme for Girls 10-17

12 Jul, 2018

Come along to our Summer healthy playscheme, full of fun and exciting acti...

  • '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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