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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Charity celebrates 25 years of empowering women and families in Leeds.

Huge celebrations reverberated through the heart of Leeds as Shantona, a pioneering charity based in Harehills, marked its remarkable 25-year journey of supporting women and families.

With a profound focus on assisting women facing domestic violence and mental health challenges, particularly within Asian and minority ethnic communities, Shantona has been a beacon of hope for those who often fell through the cracks of statutory agencies.

Founded in 1998 by local Bangladeshi women concerned about the insufficient support available for women in Harehills, Shantona has since blossomed into a formidable force, now employing 15 dedicated staff who have extended their support to hundreds of women and their children.

The 25 year anniversary celebrations, hosted at the Bangladesh Centre in Harehills, were graced by nearly 200 attendees, including the esteemed Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, who delivered an inspiring speech. Television personality Christine Talbot added her charm as the event’s host. West Yorkshire’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Alison Lowe OBE, a staunch supporter of Shantona from its inception, presented awards to the individuals involved in the charity’s vital work. Among the distinguished guests were women who have benefited from the charity’s services and dignitaries, including the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Al Garthwaite.

The event provided a platform for the audience to hear first-hand accounts of the achievements of Shantona over the past quarter-century and its vision for the future. Women who have been part of Shantona’s journey and girls who have received invaluable support shared their powerful stories.

The celebrations continued into the evening, where over 100 women gathered for a festive party. The event was brilliantly hosted by renowned DJ Saika, featuring captivating Bangladeshi dancing and even belly dancing lessons.

Mayor Tracy Brabin expressed her vision for the region, stating, “Our mission is for every woman and girl in West Yorkshire to thrive, feel empowered, and reach their full potential. To achieve this, we are working together with organisations like Shantona, and providing them with the funds to support more women and girls across the community. Over the past 25 years, Shantona has worked tirelessly to transform the lives of so many women and their families, and I wish them all the best for the next 25.”

Shantona CEO Nahid Rasool
Image: Shantona Women’s family centre

Nahid Rasool, Chief Executive of Shantona, who has been with the charity since its inception, conveyed, “We are incredibly proud of everything we have achieved in the past 25 years, but we’re not standing still. We’re looking at what we can do in the next 25 years to be of even greater support to women and their families in Leeds. We are so pleased that so many came to celebrate this 25-year milestone with us.”

For more information about Shantona’s commendable work and future initiatives, please visit their website at www.shantona.co.uk.

Shantona’s silver jubilee celebrations not only pay tribute to their transformative journey but also serve as a reminder of the crucial work that lies ahead in creating a brighter, more empowered future for women and families in Leeds.

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