Find out the Hero in Birchills - Shokt Fazal
Shokt Fazal began volunteering in 2014, attending a residents’ meeting in his local area and becoming a part of the Walsall Council Street Champions Programme. This was then followed up by Fazal becoming a school governor at Reedswood E-ACT Primary
“My local town and locality is in the bottom 20% of towns with deprivation, unemployment, education and crime,” said Fazal. “My project works since I am a local resident, and the local population are wary of outsiders due to previous negative outcomes.”
Fazal has been running family bike sessions, engaging members of the local community in physical activity in an affordable and accessible way. His local resident group, Birchills Agenda 21, is committed to improving the environment, the local neighbourhood and supporting integration and community cohesion.
“Birchills Agenda 21 obtained funding to first set up Reedswood Cycling Club in January, which led onto 8 weeks of free bike maintenance with further funding to run a 14-week family cycling programme including learning to ride and improving bicycle riding confidence,” said Fazal.
The Sport England funded project has proven popular in the area, welcoming 31 participants in a previous weekend.
“The sessions took place in an informal setting with all bikes and safety gear supplied to allow users access to cycling in a safe, park environment. They were attended by large families who are on low income and designed to remove barriers to physical activity and education. We make a difference across all levels.”
When asked about why he became a volunteer and if he would recommend others follow in his footsteps, Fazal was clear about what volunteering offers, saying: “Fulfilment at all levels from personal achievement to community wellbeing.”
Volunteers’ Week took place this year from 1-7 June, promoting and recognising the work of volunteers and opportunities to volunteer. Click on the button below to find opportunities for volunteering at events across the region.