While around 60% of the families Forget Me Not supports are from ethnic minority backgrounds, its work is not well-known amongst these communities.
The former Mayor of Kirklees, Masood Ahmed, has been appointed as community engagement officer at a children’s hospice.
Having chosen Forget Me Not as his mayoral charity of the year (2022-23), he’ll now be working to continue building relationships, raising awareness and seeking financial support across the diverse communities the charity serves, as a member of the team.
“When I visited the hospice 10-years-ago, I was taken aback by what they offered.
“My heart melted and I was drawn like a magnet to this amazing charity,” he says.
Sadly, Mr Masood has personal experience of loss. “One of my sons had an underlying health condition and we were in and out of hospital regularly.
“We spent more time in the intensive care unit than anywhere else.
“Forget Me Not didn’t exist at the time and there was no support for us as a family, no one to talk to, no one to help us deal with the situation.
Masood adds: “As mayor I was able to make connections across the region – with community groups, schools, mosques, churches, scout groups, businesses and more.
“Those, alongside my network of contacts built in my previous roles working in education, training and development, children’s services and youth work, will open up new opportunities for raising awareness and vital funds for Forget Me Not.
“My role is to raise awareness and understanding so that more families are able to get the support they need.
“I want to show people that the hospice isn’t like a hospital or a place where sick children go to die. It’s more like somewhere you can feel at home, surrounded by people who can support you through the challenges you face.”
Of course, Forget Me Not can only be there for families in need with the support of the whole community. This year, the charity needs to raise £5.5million and so relies on donations and fundraising from people, groups and businesses across West Yorkshire.
Georgia Lane, fundraising manager at Forget Me Not said: “We’re delighted to welcome Masood to the team – although it feels like he’s been part of the family for a long time already!
“His support as mayor was invaluable, enabling us to develop partnerships with community groups, businesses and organisations that we wouldn’t have reached without him opening those doors. We look forward to his continuing that vital work as a member of staff!”