06 Oct 2016

Democracy and Engagement

Muslim women, friends and allies invited to join the conversation this autumn

Tickets are available for a free event aimed at bringing Muslim women and their friends and allies together to discuss issues and topics important to them, to network, to inspire and be inspired. 

The Bristol Big Sisters event - which is the first of its kind to be held in Bristol - takes place on Sunday 16 October, from 10am to 4pm, at The Park Community Centre, Daventry Road, Knowle, BS4 1DQ.

The day will include interactive workshops and motivational talks, bringing women – both within and beyond the Muslim community – together, in the spirit of sisterhood, to put ideas into action. 

The workshops will be based around five themes: barriers to employment, adult education, health and wellbeing, cultural identity and empowerment.

The themes are based on responses to a consultation survey asking Muslim women to identify the issues and topics that matter most to them. 

A question and answer session on Islamaphobia and Radicalisation will give attendees the opportunity to speak to representatives from the Home Office, police and community groups. 

There will also be stalls where attendees can find out about volunteering, career opportunities, caring for others, wellbeing, hate crime, universal credit, adoption and fostering, and zero tolerance to domestic violence, as well as a free community bus service, crèche, disabled access, interpreters and a prayer space.

Discussion points will be used to compile an action plan to address key issues arising from the event.

Light refreshments will be available during the day and a networking halal lunch is being provided by the 91 Ways to Build a Global City Peace Café - a ground-breaking project dedicated to bringing together Bristol’s 91 language communities through food in order to create a better, more united, city.
Kalpna Woolf, founder of 91 Ways to Build A Global City, said: “Building stronger communities and a stronger city through empowering women and championing equality and diversity are keystones of our project and as such 91 Ways is delighted to be a key partner for this conference.”

Tasleem Kaurser, a mother and full-time student in Social Sciences and Law at the University of Bristol, will be speaking at the event.   Talseem facilitates social change using a series of creative techniques to engage women from diverse backgrounds to realise their potential.
Bristol Big Sisters is being coordinated by the Women’s Partnership Advisory Group (PAG), which is led by Muslim women from the community and is supported by Bristol City Council’s Equality and Community Cohesion team. Established last year, the Women’s PAG is a sub group of Building the Bridge.

Kalsoom Bashir is the community co-chair of Building the Bridge, a partnership approach to increasing community cohesion and resilience, and reducing the risk of radicalisation, and director of Inspire, a non-governmental advocacy organisation working to counter extremism and gender inequality. 

She said: “It’s really important Muslim women have a space to meet and talk about the issues that are most important to them on their own terms. 

“That’s exactly why we wanted people to get involved right from the very start, to help shape the agenda so that it’s both relevant and inclusive.

“We’re looking forward to the event and to hearing what comes out of the discussions.”

Councillor Asher Craig, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Bristol is a diverse city but we share common aspirations, many of which are reflected in the workshop themes at the Big Sisters event .

“From employment to education, health and wellbeing, cultural identity and empowerment, we all want the best for our friends, our family and ourselves.

“It’s important that everyone gets to shape the agenda, that we all have a say on the issues which matter most to us and how we can make Bristol a better place for everyone.”

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “We want Bristol to be a city that champions equality; a city that can flourish with integrity because it is somewhere everyone can participate in success. 

“Listening to communities and enabling grassroots leadership is a priority and events such as Bristol Big Sisters are a key part of this.”

To raise awareness of the event the Bristol Big Sisters display has been touring the city.  The display is a collaboration between the University of Bristol and the Muslim Women’s Network UK that celebrates Muslim women role models and invites others to follow their lead.  It features more than 20 Bristol women who have been contributing to public life. 

Tickets to the Bristol Big Sisters event can be booked online via https://bristolbigsistersconference-adult-tickets.eventbrite.co.uk, by emailing bristolbigsisterconference@gmail.com or using the freepost address:

Bristol Big Sisters (100TS/1)
Bristol City Council
PO Box 3176

A small number of free crèche places are available in the soft play area, which must be pre-booked online via https://bristolbigsistersconference-crechespaces.eventbrite.co.uk.
Join the conversation on the Bristol Big Sisters Conference Facebook page or follow @bristolbigsis16 on Twitter.