The chairman of a longstanding children’s disability charity in Bradford is looking for volunteers to join the club and eventually take over as leader of the organisation.
Akbar Khan, 57, works full-time as a housing officer for Leeds City Council and still manages to dedicate most of his spare time to running Bradford PHAB Club, alongside juggling home life with four children, two who are older and two nine-year-old twins.
Mr Khan first got involved with the club over forty years ago, when his two brothers who had muscular dystrophy were referred to the group when they were youngsters.
Tragically, his brothers Imtiaz and Tariq both passed away as teenagers, but it hasn’t stopped Mr Khan from devoting his time to the organisation for the past four decades.
The civil servant is also appealing for more families with children with disabilities from the South Asian community to access Bradford PHAB’s services, to provide a bit of fun and excitement for the children and respite for over-worked parents and carers.
Mr Khan said: “I have been involved with Bradford PHAB Club for over forty years now. As a nine-year-old, I joined with my two disabled brothers who had been referred to the group.
“My brothers both passed away at the age of sixteen as they had muscular dystrophy, within five or six years of each other. I felt that after all the support we were given, I wanted to volunteer and help families in similar circumstances.
“I became a club leader and now four decades later, I am the chairman of the group. It has been quite a personal journey of where I came from and what it meant to me and my family, but I have done it in memory of my brothers and to support families with children with disabilities and without.”
Mr Khan wants to ensure that the legacy of the club lives on after he is no longer there to run it, carrying on the memories of his brothers and others who had used the service before.
The council worker mentioned: “I have found that people in Bradford do not know about PHAB Club and what we offer. I’m of a certain age, and the management committee is around the same age, if not older, and we are not getting any younger. I want to leave the legacy of Bradford PHAB Club and make sure it doesn’t fold if anything happened to me.
“I am a bit of a one-man-band, I have to do all the fundraising, organising the event, sorting out the activities, trips, and everything else. I get support from volunteers, but I know if something did happen then there wouldn’t be anyone to step in.”
The dad-of-two added: “I want to raise awareness of Bradford PHAB Club, especially in the South Asian community. I know there are tonnes of families in Bradford with children with disabilities. I feel that I do not get many referrals from the Asian community because I think that they do not have the help or support to approach us.”
The club meets between 7pm and 8.30 on a Wednesday evening. In the winter months they meet at Mappa Community Centre in West Bowling, BD5 7DL, and in East Bierley Cricket Club, BD4 6PJ, in the summer.
Bradford PHAB Club also hosts activity camps, and fun activity trips to places like Alton Towers and holds residentials for group members.
It costs £2 a child to join per session, but families are encouraged to get in touch if they need help with the fees. The organisation can also help with picking up and dropping off children in their minibus.
For more information, please contact Akbar Khan on 07850 964864 or at www.bradfordphab.org.uk.