THE Pendle Pakistan Welfare Association has marked its 30th year of existence by changing its name and emphasising it is now a welfare group for the whole of the Pendle community.
It’s now the People’s Enterprise and Empowerment Forum - PEEF for short - and it hosted a celebration at its People’s Centre in Brierfield, with guests including the High Sheriff of Lancashire, Mr Dennis Mendoros, and the Mayor of Pendle, Coun. Tony Beckett. Many of the guests praised the work it has done over three decades.
Chairman and founder member Dr Mohammed Ikram Malik welcomed the guests and gave them a history of the PPWA. He pointed out that policy changes were aimed at keeping PEEF vibrant.
He highlighted the sort of issues it would work on - low-level income, poor housing and ill health. And he stressed that PPWA had been a community-led organisation.
“We have become an enterprising and respectable organisation. We are no longer powerless. Our views are frequently sought,” he explained. “This is a Big Society in this room.”
And he added: “Much more needs to be done for the whole of the community.”
He paid tribute to everyone who had made PPWA a successful organisation - staff, volunteers and committee members. He thanked his family for their support and praised association secretary Mr Mohammed Aslam.
The Mayor commented on the impact the group had on the community. “If we are more friendly, we will get along a lot better,” he explained. He even admitted taking lessons in Bollywood dancing at Marsden Heights Community College!
And he added: “I am very pleased to be here this morning to lend my support. The organisation has done tremendous work over the last 30 years. People want a lot of thanks for that. Dr Malik’s tenacity is convincing people.”
The High Sheriff said: “I am absolutely delighted you have invited me to joint you on this occasion. I feel I am in a room full of friends. We feel very proud. We see a very thriving ethnic minority in Pendle.”
Praise, too, came from current Pendle Council leader Mike Blomeley, two previous leaders, Alan Davies and John David, and county councillor Alan Whittaker.
And Dr Raisa Malik thanked the guests for their support and praised her husband for what he had done for PPWA and PEEF. “Without his help, we wouldn’t have achieved what we have,” she said.