Forum celebrates 20 years of empowering women in Pendle

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson (centre) with the Mayor and Mayoress of Pendle Coun. James Starkie and his wife Janet and other guests at the 20th anniversary celebrations for Pendle Women's Forum.
Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson (centre) with the Mayor and Mayoress of Pendle Coun. James Starkie and his wife Janet and other guests at the 20th anniversary celebrations for Pendle Women's Forum.
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A forum, that empowers, guides and advises women, has celebrated its 20th anniversary.

The Pendle Women's Forum was launched in Nelson in 1998 and marked its special birthday with a VIP celebration attended by MP Andrew Stephenson, the Mayor and Mayoress of Pendle Coun. James Starkie and his wife, Janet and Adeeba Malik CBE.

PWF forum Dr Raisa Malik spoke about the charity and paid homage to the founders who included her late husband, Dr Ikram Malik MBE.

Empowering women by providing skills and training, the forum encourages women in Nelson to take part in community activities. Mr Stephenson spoke about his hopes to see women in Pendle become more involved in politics and he admitted that nothing would please him more than to lose to a woman from an ethnic minority.

Several women who have benefitted from PWF's various projects spoke about their success stories including Rakshanda Fazal, who managed to improve her English by attending classes at the centre.

Khalida Rehman spoke about how the forum helped her to re-build her life after going through a divorce. She said the confidence she gained made her feel empowered enough to move away from Nelson and find a job in Sheffield.

Guests were entertained by singer/songwriter Jay Stansfield and 14-year-old violinist Gayatri Suresh gave a mesmerising performance.

Indian classical dances were performed by Swadha Gupta and 10-year-old vocalist Zahra Qureshi enchanted everyone with her outstanding singing.

The forum now plans to build on the success of the last two decades to continue with its good work and build on its success to equip women with the skills they need to feel self confident, employable and empowered.