Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit

Established in 1991, Fatima Women’s Association (FWA) has been delivering services to women, young people, and children for 29 years. FWA was formed by local Pakistani women who recognised the lack of facilities available to women from minority backgrounds in Oldham.

“Our mission is to develop educational opportunities for the most disadvantaged women, raise aspirations, and provide work experience on the doorstep for those who struggle to find volunteering and paid employment.” – Fatima Women’s Association.

The aims and objectives include empowering disadvantaged women, young people, and children from all communities in Oldham to improve their quality of life through providing education, training, health and wellbeing and recreational activities. FWA allows for the members to contribute to the local community, feel heard and valued as responsible citizens, shaping their lives and futures.

“We have impacted many lives over the years from improving mental health to sign posting women to get early help.” – Fatima Women’s Association.

Children and young people are introduced to agencies that deliver workshops surrounding preventing violence and crime. Mothers are supported and educated with positive parenting skills. Women from the community meet each week to upskill themselves. Amidst this, local authorities and partnership organisations also visit to deliver various workshops around drugs and alcohol, violence, young people’s safety, fire services and the local police.

“This organisation has supported me in my bad times, and I want to do the same for other women” – Fatima Women’s Association.  

FWA have three key areas of focus. 

  1. Education/Training: To capacity build and empower disadvantaged women in Oldham, by building their confidence, self-esteem, social and educational skills through the provision of a range of demand led, quality controlled and fit for purpose educational training programmes.
  2. Health and Wellbeing: To improve the health, wellbeing and mental health of disadvantaged women and their children who may be experiencing isolation, poor physical, mental health, and domestic abuse by providing a variety of educational, social and leisure opportunities.
  3. Activities for children and young people: To further develop the skills, health and social wellbeing of all vulnerable, disadvantaged children and young people enabling them to reach their full potential in terms of education, economic and social contribution, health and wellbeing.

A member of over 50’s group said: “I have been coming to the centre for about a year. I suffer from depression and anxiety. I enjoyed attending the Luncheon club. I have made friends here from diverse backgrounds and I feel less stressed and more physically active. My confidence has been increased through interacting with other people. I feel better when I talk to other people, having a laugh, under no pressure in the session and the atmosphere is so relaxed. I enjoy my delicious healthy lunches with them.

“My anxiety decreased as I became more familiar with the environment and the staff. This allowed me to feel more optimistic that my anxiety is not as large a barrier to access activities as I had felt and that I do have some coping mechanisms that I can develop further. I always look forward to attending the group.”

A learner from the Employability Skills programme said “I have attended job club which has boosted my confidence and has encouraged me to apply for volunteering work in schools. I have improved my interview skills and I hope to get a part-time or full-time job in a nursery.”

Another learner said “I have improved my reading and writing skills. I can complete the job application myself. The teaching methods taught by the tutor were really easy to follow. We learnt better through role-play and different games.”

A volunteer from FWA, said: “I have been volunteering at Fatima Women’s Association for 6 months now helping the Esol teacher with her class. It is quite a big and diverse class with a variety of learners from all backgrounds including Arabic and Bengali speakers as well as Pakistani.

“I sometimes help a learner on a one-to-one basis as they may need more support than others. This has given me confidence in my own abilities when I am able to help others. It also means that I can get out of the house and meet others on a regular basis rather than being sat at home focusing on my own problems.”

Learn more about FWA:



Article posted on: 13/01/2023 11:01am

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