Tag Archive: Hamara Healthy Living Centre

Regal recipients: Two of Yorkshire’s finest receive OBEs

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PROMOTING THE ARTS: Geetha Upadhyaya, of Kala Sangam, is another recipient of an OBE

PROMOTING THE ARTS: Geetha Upadhyaya, of Kala Sangam, is another recipient of an OBE

When Hanif Malik began fundraising to establish the Hamara Healthy Living Centre in 1998, there was neither an office nor a building to operate out of as the charity was in its infancy.

Fast forward almost two decades, and Hamara has grown into the largest ethnic minority organisation in the voluntary and community sector in Leeds, employing over 20 staff members and helping hundreds of local residents every year.

In recognition of his work as founder and chief executive of the charity, Hanif has this week been named on the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List and will receive a prestigious OBE for his services.

For many, the extra three letters at the end of their title would be something to brag about, but Hanif recognises that it’s a team effort which eventually led to his name being stamped on the Royal list.

“It’s right up there with some of my proudest moments,” he said. “But it’s not an egotistical pride.

“I’m proud, not just for myself, but for the whole community and Leeds and everyone I’m associated with.

“I am as proud of everyone else as I am of myself. You can see the real genuineness and warmth from people when things like this happen. It’s the highest accolade I’ve ever received.”

Although Hanif is seen by many as a role model in the local community, his life could have played out differently had he followed his original career path.

Jumping betweens jobs in the private sector, with BT and HSBC, it wasn’t until a death in the family that he began working in the community sector.

COMMUNITY STALWART: Hanif Malik has been awarded an Order of the British Empire for his services to sports and the community

COMMUNITY STALWART: Hanif Malik has been awarded an Order of the British Empire for his services to sports and the community

Almost 20 years on, Hanif hopes his latest accolade will inspire others to build a legacy of their own.

“I hope it encourages other people,” he said, “especially youngsters.

“The OBE shows that it is possible - regardless of your background, how well you do at school, your race or your ethnicity – that if you continue striving to do good, you will achieve something.

“Regardless of any barriers and labels, if you apply yourself and if you’re sincere with what you do, you will get somewhere in life.”

Elsewhere in West Yorkshire, arts visionary, Dr Geetha Upadhyaya, who co-founded Bradford’s Kala Sangam arts centre in Little Germany 20 years ago, has also been awarded with an OBE.

She and her husband, Dr Shripati Upadhyaya, a consultant psychologist at Bradford District Care Trust, began the charity in her home in 1996 and it soon expanded to its current base in St Peter’s House. Her vision was to create a pioneering centre, bringing all cultures together through the world of art.

“It is so nice to be recognised in this way. I feel Kala Sangam - which means ‘art’ and ‘bringing together’ - has created something wonderful and feel that art is the best way to to this,” said Dr Geetha Upadhyaya, a consultant in metabolic medicine.

“I really wanted to make this a beacon centre and the response it has received from Bradford is wonderful.”

The centre has been a labour of love for Mrs Upadhyaya and has grown from a few dance classes to the only South Asian arts centre in the UK with its own dedicated performance space.

Over the years the 200 artists working with the company have appeared on Songs of Praise and at the Houses of Parliament and the Royal Albert Hall.


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Achieve your fitness goals

For the past five years, Every Day Fitness has been helping people across Leeds achieve their health aims, whether it be to shed a few pounds, tone up some muscle, or prepare for a marathon.

Now, following a six-month refurbishment, the gym is back bigger and better than ever with free taster sessions available for aspiring new members.

With all the latest cardio and weight machines, including Life Fitness equipment, Every Day Fitness provides the perfect environment for your workout, with a team of friendly staff always on hand.

SONY DSCLocated at the iconic Hamara Centre building, in Beeston, hundreds of members were previously registered before the flooding forced the temporary closure.

Fazle Rabbi is one of the club members and explained what others can expect when signing up with Every Day Fitness.

“Six months ago we had a flood in the gym and were forced to remodel this whole space,” Faz said.

“We have made the best of a difficult situation and now we have this fantastic space which provides all the equipment and machines you could need for all workouts.

“It is a state-of-the-art gym and I would urge anybody looking to get healthy to try a taster session and see what is on offer.”

Unlike other gyms, there are no yearly contracts at Every Day Fitness, with memberships charged at just £15 per month with no joining fee.

Workout in a friendly environment, developed with members in mind, and take advantage of class timetables, as well as access to swimming clubs, walking clubs and Zumba.

Wasim Hussain is another member who has utilised the state-of-the-art machinery in recent weeks and has already seen the difference a ‘bit of hard work’ can make.

“All the equipment you need to achieve your fitness goals are available at the gym,” he said. “All you need now is a bit of hard work and you can do whatever you put your mind to.”

Contact Every Day Fitness today to receive your free taster session and start the journey to a healthier you.


Contact details

Hamara Healthy Living Centre,

Tempest Rd,


LS11 6RD

Opening times:

Mon-Fri: 9am-8pm,

Sat-Sun: 11am-5pm

Tel: 0113 277 3330

Leeds acknowledges its finest with Hon Doctorates

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An Imam, a Sikh Leader and a community champion lead the way in this year’s honorary doctorates list who were commended this past week as part of Leeds Metropolitan’s summer graduations.

Hanif Malik of the Hamara Centre in Leeds

Hanif Malik of the Hamara Centre in Leeds

Amongst the total 17 recipients of this year’s awards was Hamara Healthy Living Centre’s Hanif Malik,who was commended for his work in helping to develop the largest ethnic minority organisation in the voluntary and community sector in Leeds.

Mr Malik worked closely with the university earlier this year on a project aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of taxi drivers by supporting them to make positive changes to their diet, exercise and lifestyle.

On receiving his honorary degree, the Leeds resident said he was ‘honoured’ and‘privileged’ to be commended by the educational institution.

“My advice to students graduating today is to aim high and never let people tell you that you can’t achieve your goals because I’d like to think I’ve proven people wrong over the years,” he said.

“Regardless of your background, if you aim high and you’re committed and passionate about what you do, you can get there.

“Leeds Met were involved with the Hamara Centre right from the outset in terms of its development so I think it’s not an exaggeration to say that without the input of theUniversity, we may never have had the Hamara Centre.”

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Also accepting his award on the same day was Imam of Leeds Makkah Masjid, Qari Asim MBE. Mr Asim has worked tirelessly to build bridges between communities in Leeds since the 7/7 terror attacks and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws for his contribution to public life.

On receiving his award, he commented: “I am absolutely delighted and incredibly humbled tohave received this prestigious honour from a distinguished institution.

“This honorary Doctorate gives me a renewed sense of purpose to work even harder to enhance community relations."

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Also accepting his Honorary Doctorate was Chairman of the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ), Harban Singh Sagoo.

Ever since moving to the UK in the 1960’s, Mr Sagoo has been helping to support Sikhs in the city become part of mainstream society.

The 73-year-old grandfather was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his service to the city and region and contribution to public and voluntary service.

"Initially, I believed the actual degree may have conflicted with my own ideologies so I actually sat on it for a month before I could accept it,” he said.

“I consulted a few people and they all said that I didn’t ask for it, and in fact I was being given it, so I should take it."

Cabbie Welfare

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A Healthy Living project based in Leeds has been working to improve the Health and Wellbeing of taxi drivers by supporting them to make positive changes to their diet, exercise and lifestyle.

The Leeds Cab Drivers project, funded by the Pfizer UK foundation was delivered by staff from the Hamara Healthy Living Centre, located in the City &Hunslet Ward of Leeds with research and evaluation support provided by Leeds Met University.

As professions go, taxi drivers experience high levels of chronic disease, linked to sedentary lifestyles, poor diet and stressful lifestyles.  A significantly high proportion of taxi drivers are of South Asian background, a group that also experience disproportional levels of chronic disease compared to the general population linked to eating habits, ethnic make-up and lifestyle choices.

Some early results from the study show that over the course of the 12 week project, taxi drivers dropped as much as five inch from their waist circumference and five kilograms of weight lost.

SUPPORT: Hamara Centre CEO, Hanif Malik, is delighted with the success of the project which has already seen some cabbies drop five inches from their waistlines

SUPPORT: Hamara Centre CEO, Hanif Malik, is delighted with the success of the project which has already seen some cabbies drop five inches from their waistlines

Hanif Malik, CEO of the Hamara Centre, commented: “What we have found is that this project is a ground-breaking unique project tackling ill-health and inequality for not only the Cabbies but support for their families which helps with continuity and consistency.

“Hamara has been at the forefront of many such projects but our relationship with Leeds Met has been further strengthened with the support of Pfizer UK foundation.”

Starr Zaman, Lead officer on the project, added: “This taxi driver’s initiative is a well over due project for Leeds and its surrounding areas.

“We have upwards of 5,000 plus taxi drivers and early health interventions will help with putting less strain on our overworked NHS. Although the Taxi Firms are from Leeds not all the drivers are,  with cabbies coming from Bradford, Kirklees, Wakefield and even Manchester residents’ working in Leeds.

“Our intervention was an ‘assisted ride’, Hamara trained staff knew all the ‘short cuts’ and what ‘our customer’ was going to say. We even gave them ‘a tip’ by helping their families and over all it was a pleasant journey that needs to be continued.”

Leeds Met provided vital support in the evaluation of data and help in researching the issue. Prof. Steve Robertson, who has been working closely with the project on behalf of the University was delighted to see the ‘fantastic outcomes’.

He said: “The long, unsociable hours that taxi drivers work can make it difficult for them to access mainstream health services and fitness facilities.

“This pilot project indicates that delivering a service in an accessible and culturally sensitive way can help break down some of the barriers to taxi drivers to participating in health promoting activities.”