Start Date: 1987 – under the name of Barton Hill Asian Women’s Group
End Date: On going
Barton Hill Office
43 Ducie Road
Bristol, BS5 0AX
Tel: 0117 9146671/ 9548885/ 9556971
Fax: 0117 9146671
Naheed Kausar – Administration / Personnel Manager – main contact.
Naheed began by attending the Youth Project and has now worked for Dhek Bhal for 7 years. She has seen the expansion and success of services as well as the closure of some.
Zehra Haq – Chief Executive – many stories to tell including about the beginnings of the organisation and the struggle for it to become accepted in the area.
“Dhek Bhal’s mission is ‘to promote the health and social well being of South Asian people living in Bristol & South Gloucestershire through a range of services”
Dhek Bhal believes that everyone in the South Asian Community:
Has rights and responsibilities and is entitled to dignity and respect.
Has the right to quality services to meet individual needs.
Has the right to opportunities which will promote individual development.
Has the right to information.
Has the right to make choices.
Should be able to contribute to the development of services directly or through a representative, family member or advocate.
27 November 1997: a company limited by guarantee was incorporated under the name of Dhek Bhal.
21 December 1997: the charity was transformed into a company.
11 June 1998: the company obtained Charitable status.
The History of Dhek Bhal
In 1986/1987 Zehra Haq, who was living in Barton Hill and caring for her Mother-in-law at home during the day, began voluntary work at Barton Hill Settlement and then Barton Hill Advice Centre. She realised that there was a need for opportunities for local Asian women who were feeling isolated and experiencing the effects of local racial tension to socialise outside of the home. She began to organise regular group meetings at Barton Hill Settlement, which, when publicised, were also joined by women from Easton. Zehra became a member of the “Women’s Committee” which had been set up by Bristol City Council and she became aware that there was funding available from the council to set up local Asian groups.
Dhek Bhal Development
1987: Dhek Bhal was founded by a small group of volunteers and operated under the name of Barton Hill Asian Women’s Group.
1987: Barton Hill Asian Womens Group for Young Mums Project
(Young Mums Project ceased April 2008)
1988: Elderly Project – Women’s (N.B. date of establishment is 1987 in 2006 Annual Report)
1989: Youth Project – Girls (ceased April 2008)
1993: Sitting Service Project – Bristol
1994: The Holiday Playscheme (ceased 2006)
1997: Outreach Support Project (ceased 2000)
1999: Sitting Service Project – South Gloucestershire
2000: Carers Support Project (limited service from April 2008)
2001: Asian Children and Youth Liaison Service (ceased from April 2008)
2004: Volunteer Support Project (ceased 2007)
2006: Youth Project – Boys (ceased from April 2009)
2008: Elderly Project – Mens (started Oct 2008)
August 2011 – New website launched.
(N.B. Project titles taken from website – some differ in Annual Reports)
The main activities taking place at present come under the following headings on the Dhek Bhal website:
Women’s Day Centre Project
Dhek Bhal Day Centre Project is unique and caters for South Asian women from the age of fifty five from Bristol and South Gloucestershire. The Project was established in 1988 so that elderly women could meet for friendship and mutual support at a convenient location and maintain independence.
The Day Centre provides the following services:
Affordable, nutritional, halal/vegetarian South Asian meals
Advice and information on welfare rights, housing, health and other relevant issues
Companionship and mutual support to share experiences and counteract isolation
A range of exciting actitivies e.g:- aromatherapy, reflexology, massage and arts & crafts.
Shopping trips to local supermarkets and to shopping areas more further afield, such as Birmingham and Southall
Holidays to destinations such as Torquay, Wales and the Eden Project.
Men’s Day Centre Project
Project was launched on the 22nd of October 2008.
The Men’s Day Centre Project meets once a month with the general aim of making the lives of the men who attend a fulfilling, enjoyable and sociable experience. A range of activities are organised including, guest speakers and health workshops and the members are consulted for suggestions about things they’d like to try or places they’d like to go.
Older men (55 and above) are invited to come along and participate in activities, have a home cooked Asian halal and vegetarian lunch, or simply enjoy a cup of tea and a chat with friends.
The aim of the project is to fill the gap in the availability of services for a section of the community, namely older South Asian men who experience feelings of isolation and vulnerability. The majority are carers and ‘cared for’, and the rest widowers who feel lonely and depressed after the death of their spouses. The project focuses primarily on men’s health and wellbeing.
Day trips and the opportunity to enjoy an annual holiday are also provided.
The aim of this project is to support, advise and provide information to South Asian carers, who live in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
Carers Support Group
Meetings are held bi-monthly on Wednesdays. These sessions offer carers an opportunity to meet other carers in similar situations as themselves and to provide mutual support, friendship and information for carers.
Activities, courses and outings are also incorporated into these sessions. This group is carer led and all ideas and suggestions from carers are welcome.
Free transport service and sitting service can be arranged for those who wish to attend this group.
Sitting Service Project
Bristol Sitting Service was established to provide a brief respite care service in the home to South Asian carers of elderly people living in all areas of Bristol. There is a sister project in South Gloucestershire.
Sitters are recruited from all South Asian backgrounds and are trained to care in different home situations and deal with emergencies.
The sitters go into homes to relieve the carers for between 2-3 hours allowing them a break from their duties of care.
Young people’s projects
Ended due to lack of funding. They were very successful in their time though. See Annual Report 2009/10 for testimonies and for examples of young women progressing from the group to volunteering and to successful careers. Also projects such as creating a fashion website (in partnership with Knowle West Media Centre). (see website – www.desi-fashion.co.uk )
See Annual Report 2008/09 for photo of Boy’s Group on final get-together – trip to Thorpe Park.
www.englandspastforeveryone.org.uk (Interview with Zehra Haq with Madge Dresser)
Dhek Bhal Annual Report 2005/2006
Dhek Bhal Annual Report 2008/2009
Dhek Bhal Annual Report 2009/2010
Bristol: ethnic minorities and the city 1000-2001. Madge Dresser, Peter Fleming Phillimore & Co Ltd, [distributor] The History Press Ltd, 2007
Conversation Thursday 22 September 2011 with Naheed Kausar and Zehra Haq at Dhek Bhal Main office in Barton Hill Settlement.