Tag Archive: Calderdale Council

Lady on a mission: Calderdale project coordinator combats radicalisation

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INSPIRED BY CHILDREN: Sadia presents the Heartstone work at the House of Commons

INSPIRED BY CHILDREN: Sadia presents the Heartstone work at the House of Commons

Most of us are aware of the government’s PREVENT strategy, with many, predominantly from the Muslim community sceptical about its counter-terrorism strategy.

But as they say – “the proof is in the pudding”, and there’s no one better than Sadia Hussain to talk about the success of the intervention programme to tackle the spread of extremist ideology.

Sadia who is a PREVENT coordinator for Calderdale Council, works with schools, colleges, public bodies and communities across the area, with one clear vision – to safeguard young people from radicalisation.

With a firm belief that the process of radicalisation is different for everyone, she says that this is not an issue of religion but an issue of extremist ideology, which can take many different forms including far right extremism and neo-Nazi terrorism.

Keen to ensure that all communities, especially young people, have the opportunity to debate and discuss issues, she’s also engaged with some 200 parents to teach them about how to keep their families safe online.

“One of our most successful projects is Safe Online, which is run by the Peace Museum in Bradford,” says Sadia.

“It teaches parents and young people how to keep themselves and their families safe online. The course covers a range of issues including radicalisation, child sexual exploitation and online gaming.

“We do not subscribe to the conveyer belt theory of radicalisation, where people move from feeling angry, to being radicalised, to becoming violent.

“By looking at the choices and decisions made by people historically we look at what it means to be a hero and what impacts the decisions that we make and how we can make a difference to the community around us in a way that fits our universal values.”

Now, led by Sadia, ten Calderdale schools were some of the first in the country to showcase their work on the Heartstone Odyssey, at a special event held at the House of Commons.

The Heartstone Odyssey  - created by Heartstone, is a not-for-profit organisation, encouraging children aged from 9-12, to think about extremism, cohesion, identity, racism, tolerance.

SADIA HUSSAIN: “We do not subscribe to the conveyer belt theory of radicalisation, where people move from feeling angry, to being radicalised, to becoming violent.”

SADIA HUSSAIN: “We do not subscribe to the conveyer belt theory of radicalisation, where people move from feeling angry, to being radicalised, to becoming violent.”

Representatives from schools in Calderdale, London, Slough, Luton, Nottinghamshire, Oldham and Liverpool were invited to share what they had learned during the project with MPs, Councillors and community activists.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Communities, Councillor Susan Press said: “I’m delighted we had the opportunity to share our experience of the Heartstone Odyssey at the House of Commons.

“This is a really inspiring project which encouraged the children to think and debate the big issues which we’re facing in society today. They learned how to discuss their opinions and to listen and challenge the views of other people.

“By highlighting our shared values the project helps to protect our children from the dangers of extremism and intolerance.”

Sadia Hussain says she’s keen to ensure that young people have the opportunity to debate and discuss issues as this helps them become resilient to the extremist views and encourages critical thinking skills.

“This has been such an exciting project and we’ve all been delighted by how the schools and young people have worked so well together, getting to know each other and creating a sense of community between the schools involved,” she says.

“When I initially approached local teachers they were enthusiastic and full of ideas. The children really valued the opportunity to have a safe space to talk about the issues and this culminated in a very popular exhibition of their work at Halifax Town Hall, a number of plays, artwork, poetry and even origami.”

The project is being extended in 2017 to schools across Calderdale.

If you are concerned that someone you know is at risk of being drawn into terrorist-related activity please contact: Sadia Hussain, Calderdale Council’s PREVENT Co-ordinator on mobile: 07702 656834 or email: sadia.hussain@calderdale.gov.uk

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Calderdale welcomes refugees

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POSITIVE: Calderdale Council leader, Cllr Tim Swift, explained how the council were planning to accommodate refugees

POSITIVE: Calderdale Council leader, Cllr Tim Swift, explained how the council were planning to accommodate refugees

Councillors discuss efficient ways to ensure a smooth integration

The best ways for Calderdale Council to cater for refugees, fleeing from persecution in Syria, was a key topic discussed during a local cabinet meeting earlier this week.

The Council has pledged to welcome 50 Syrian refugees into the area as part of the Government’s scheme to resettle 20,000 people within the UK in the next five years.

This commitment will be reviewed in April 2016, if the refugee crisis continues.

On Monday 12th October, Cabinet were asked to confirm this decision, which will see Syrian refugees arrive in Calderdale over the next two years through the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.   

The Government scheme will be initially funded from the Overseas Aid budget and will cover housing, health and school costs.

Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Tim Swift said: “Calderdale has a long history of providing a new start to people who have suffered the worst kinds of hardship and persecution around the world, including in recent months welcoming families from both Iraq and Afghanistan.    

“Having seen the recent images of refugees fleeing the war in Syria we couldn’t fail to be moved by their plight and we’re determined as a Council to do all we can to give them the security of a new home here.

“Based on our past experience we’re planning to receive small family groups initially, on a quarterly basis, so that we can provide the support which they are likely to need as they begin to adapt to life in the UK.”

In recent days, Government officials have advised they will look to extend their initial support into a longer time period and Calderdale is working with other Councils to ensure that the funding provided meets the support needed.  

The Cabinet team will look to commit £25,000 to support local key voluntary sector organisations, such as St Augustine’s Centre in Halifax, which provide vital support to local refugees and asylum seekers.

Work is also underway to investigate possible options for developing a hosting scheme within Calderdale, as many local residents have offered to host refugees within their own home.  Recommendations outlining a potential hosting scheme in Calderdale should be available by early 2016.

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