My invitation to a wondrous and beautiful place of return


A warm welcome at Zawiyat al-Ma’ab al-Shadhiliya

I had a fantastic time at the official opening event of a new community asset in Hall Green. The Birmingham Shadhiliya Trust, a Sunni Sufi Muslim charity, took over the old hut that used to belong to the Sea Cadets.

This hut, and the land it sat on had been neglected for many years and both have now been transformed into a space that will offer the perfect home for many different activities.

Sunni Sufis follow a Sufi spiritual guide, Sheikh Nuh Keller, an American who converted to Islam in the 70s and was authorised as a master of the Hashamiya al-Darqawiya al-Shadhiliya Sufi order in the late 90s. Sufism is the form of Islam that focuses upon spirituality, mysticism, improving one’s inner state and serving others. This focus has been translated throughout the development and the building has been named Zawiyat al-Ma’ab al-Shadhiliya (A wondrous and beautiful place of return).


Cllr Bowles, Kerry Jenkins and Birmingham Mayor, Mike Leddy

Lord Mayor, Mike Leddy undertook the official ceremony which was attended by members of the Trust, user groups, neighbours and councillors. We were treated to a falconry display, invited to have a go at archery, offered fabulous food and indulged with henna art.

With an unofficial motto of service before self’  – the  Sufi focus on spirituality, mysticism, improving one’s inner state and serving others was ever present and it was a day to remember and I am sure that a warmer welcome would be hard to find.

A number of activities have already been arranged with a scout group starting very soon, yoga classes and archery. I look forward to many further visits and getting involved in some of the activities that will be taking place over the coming months and urge others to take a look and see what is on offer.

An Unacceptable Truth: The Mental Health of Young People | 99percentblog

This is a piece written by by Youth Voice Journal:

The recent controversy concerning Tesco and Asda halloween costumes perhaps tells us more about the challenge of combating mental health than anything else. While it is true that most people will have the common sense to realise that these images are grossly exaggerated stereotypes, on reflection it has clear potential to make it harder for those with mental illness to seek help, for fear of being called derogatory names like lunatic and makes pre-existing attitudes and stigma harder to eradicate. Is it right to complain if a work colleague had a heart attack and hadn’t turned up for work? Of course not. So what makes it different than, say, depression? This is a question that, it appears, too many people don’t want to face.

Read more here: An Unacceptable Truth: The Mental Health of Young People | 99percentblog.

Hidden treasures in Hall Green

I write today firstly with an admission of my own lack of awareness as to some of the vital services being provided here in my community in Hall Green. What led me to this recognition of fact… my discovery, on Saturday, of a real treasure.

This wasn’t treasure in financial terms, but in terms of a service being provided to a small number of extremely vulnerable adults by a committed, professional team – it was a discovery of the ‘crown jewels’.

Optimum Care Services were celebrating 21 years of providing specialised, residential care for adults with learning difficulties at their site in Green Road where I had a fabulous afternoon at the Funday organised and took full advantage by getting my face painted! I was also pleased to be joined by Cllr Bowles and Cllr Burden who supported the event, alongside neighbouring residents, family members and other supporters who enjoyed such treats as goat curry, samosas and burgers as well as trying their luck at the Tombola and raffle which both offered a great range of prizes. We were also entertained with live music in the lovely garden at the care home.

At a time when many voluntary organisations and care providers are facing huge challenges, I was interested to hear that they are currently fundraising in an attempt to buy a minibus for the home. Manager Tim showed me round and I saw the wonderful garden furniture that had recently been donated and was being put to great use on a day that luckily remained warm and sunny for the duration of events.

In the current austere times, it was great to see that the many funding challenges being faced had not dampened spirits or affected the quality of services being provided at this care home in Green Road.

Now I have discovered them I will be certainly keeping in touch and if anyone reading this can offer any assistance to their fundraising activities then please do get in touch.