Empowering Local Women

Shama Women’s Centre, founded in 1985 by a group of Leicester women whose mission is to empower local women from different backgrounds to become socially, educationally and economically active.

The centres’ work enables, empowers and encourages women from deprived and limiting backgrounds to achieve qualifications, gain skills and become independent, whilst supporting them along the process.

They have been adapting their activities over the years, working closely with the Local Authority, grant providers, communities and service users, maintaining a high reputation and delivering outstanding services.

This year, they had plans to move towards sustainability, and develop new business streams, but due to the Covid-19 lockdown these have been set back. Since then, they have adapted a new way of working by:

  • delivering online activities
  • conducting learning and peer support sessions
  • providing continued mental health support and professional counselling services
  • delivering a volunteer led programme to support people with isolation and depression called Corona Comrades, as well as continuing with business development activities.

This year, they celebrate 35 years of supporting the BAME women in Leicester and have launched the #35for35 campaign. The campaign will enable them to link up to local business ambassadors, helping them to develop their trading income as well as reducing overheads to ensure they can continue to provide a much needed service for longer. Their staff and volunteer dedication is inspirational and adds to the sustainability plans for the centres’ future.

Through social, educational and employment support they have helped thousands of women to gain confidence and qualifications. Without their help local women who might otherwise experience isolation have become active and valued members of the community.

In 2015 their chairwoman Yasmin Nathani was awarded an MBE from the Queen in recognition of her service to the empowerment of women in Leicester.

Small Charities face a lot of challenges, which you need to be ready to meet head on to
fight for the survival of your organisation. Value your staff and they will
strive harder to enable you to deliver during these challenges. Never give up”

– Yasmin Nathani MBE, Chair of Shama


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helpline@valonline.org.uk or call: 0116 257 5050

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