Over 800 women from the Shree Prajapati (SPAUK) Samaj attended the 36th Mahila Sammelan (women’s conference) at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Oldham, Tameside to learn about ‘grooming’ and ‘care in the community’ programme
Hosted by SPA Tameside branch volunteers, numbering over 120, the day was a tremendous success with integrative presentations, plays and video clips interspersed with Indian dance routines by UBN’s Dance Group.
The morning session was dedicated to the sensitive subject of ‘Grooming’ – the behaviour used by predators to target and prepare children and young people (CYP) for sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. Presenters included Dave Jones from the GW Theatre group with a powerful video case study and Rebekah Sutcliffe, Assistant Chief Constable – Great Manchester Police emphasised the Police support and parental awareness of such activity. Kim Scragg – Director Safeguarding, Oldham City Council went on to illustrate the support available through local councils and Pradip Mistry, E-safety expert covered the essentials of e-device safety and parent awareness.
Post lunch, the speakers, Lina Patel, Darshaben and Punamben, highlight the ‘Care in the Community’ services available to help people manage their physical and mental health problems in the community e.g. nursing or social support, home help, day centres, counseling and supported accommodation. A key highlight was the need for care homes with Asian specific needs addressed.
Other sponsors included Phoenix Oldham / Tameside, O2, Tameside Carers, Action Together, Healthwatch Tameside and Tameside Metropolitan Council all providing invaluable information.
Jitubhai C. Mistry, SPA UK President stated ‘We are aware that Grooming / Child Sexual Exploitation are not topics discussed in our households – we need to face reality. With regards to Care in the Community, it is traditional for our families to take the self-help route, however this brings its own stresses. Its time our community understand there is help out there. I am proud of the programme the Mahila’s have put together and shows how progressive our community is.’
Dakshaben Mistry, Mahila Secretary, acknowledged the Mahila’s team effort in organising this event. The questionnaires circulated prior have helped shape the programme for the day. She added her thanks in advance to the sponsors, the host branch SPA Tameside and their volunteers.