Shamime Jan is the Founding Director of Bollyfit Active, a group which aims to support local women in having a culturally appropriate environment to open up, socialise and stay active.
When the pandemic hit, the women were unable to meet inside, but spent time walking around their local park, which is when Shamime realised how much the park needed an uplift in maintenance and care.
“Walking around Crowcroft Park, we noticed it was a derelict space, it wasn’t kept very well, the grass was even bigger than us!”
Shamime then contacted the council about the matter, who explained that there hadn’t been a Friends Of group for the park for over 2 years. This gave Shamime and other members of Bollyfit Active the idea to create their own Friends Of Crowcroft Park group.
Starting the group wasn’t a simple task, with it taking over a year for the group to be officially set up. Luckily, Shamime and the other members persevered, sending numerous emails to the park rangers and city council and involving their local MP, before finally becoming established this year.
Shamime now operates as a stakeholder for the group, and is hoping to get further support to help the group apply for funds.
“I feel that the council could support the group further, so they can set up more activities in the park, there are still a few barriers to overcome”
One of the biggest events to date that the group has held was their Eid Party, which brought together lots of families from the local community. Chair of the group, Shazma, explained the process they went through to set up their activities and how it’s brought the park back to life.
“First was the cleaning and errands, and now the Muslim Eid parties are there, all the trees are growing and the community are happy with all the greenery, it’s a step by step”
Shamime also explained their hopes for the future of the space.
“They would like to apply for funds to do more things with their children there. They want to plant herbs and vegetables that they used to eat in Pakistan, to create their own Pakistan in the park!”
To find out more, visit their Facebook page.