Friday, 12 October 2012

Brick Lane women’s group to play a leading role at the Lord Mayor’s Show

 East-End women’s community group Heba Women’s Project has received a grant of £15,000 from the City of London Corporation to take part in the prestigious Lord Mayor’s Show this year. 

On Saturday 10 November, the 685th Lord Mayor of London will follow in the footsteps of his predecessors and embark on a procession from Mansion House to the Royal Courts of Justice via St Paul’s Cathedral, and this year, the local Brick Lane group is creating one of the leading floats.

Heba is a women’s training centre, well known and loved in the community as a hub where isolated and disadvantaged women can come to learn skills, meet new people and increase self-esteem.  Heba supports women into training and employment and helps integration into UK society.

Anne Wilding, Heba’s manager explained:  “Our float is about women’s role in holding society together. The centrepiece is a bobbin with three embroidered panels representing the tools of women: strength, respect and balance.

“The Strength panel is grey, to represent steel, and tells of the World Wars when we women took on new jobs and adopted a ‘make do and mend’ attitude. The Respect panel is purple and green – Heba’s colours – in memory of the suffragettes whose struggle still continues in the home countries of many Heba women. The Balance panel is red, representing the urgency in women’s lives now. The panel shows women balancing the many activities and roles of every day

One of the ways Heba helps its members is by providing training programmes and courses in spoken and written English, sewing, garment production, and I.T. training. Courses are taught to a variety of levels and all lead to nationally recognised qualifications.

The enterprise programme also offers women production work through its links with new designers, and a small number of subsidised work spaces for those who want to try out new ideas and start up in business.

Anjum Ishtiaq, Heba’s sewing teacher and production manager, said: “Creating the designs for the float is a lot of hard work, but we’re very excited to have such a nice group of volunteers. We’ve never done anything like this before but we’re really progressing quickly, and working on the float has helped us to recruit new members.”

Heba was the winner of the 'Social Inclusion & Diversity' section of Tower Hamlets 2010 Third Sector Awards. The centre was recently chosen by the Women’s Resource Centre to feature in their report 'Hidden Value: Demonstrating the extraordinary impact of women's voluntary and community organisations', which had its launch in the Houses of Parliament last year.

John Park, Press Officer, City of London Corporation

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