Interviewing our legendary Youth Worker and Welcoming Face of BYZ …RQ

When we interviewed RQ, I couldn’t stop laughing and Zainab made me calm down. When RQ was answering our questions I found her answers very interesting. She was very confident during the whole time, but I was just sitting there quietly. One of the things that stuck out during the interview was what RQ had been through. After the interview I felt kind of emotional, because of what she had been through to get here. I just hope that with everything I am going through and other girls maybe going through, we will be fine in the end. 😉


In my opinion, I believe that RQ’s interview went well. We learnt a lot about her past, which intrigued me to find out lots more about her. Before the interview I felt very anxious and had to get those nerves under control by laughing it out. After the interview, I didn’t really want it to end, because I was so amazed be her story.


RQ’s interview was really interesting, the stories she told us surprised me because I didn’t expect for it to get as deep as it did. RQ’s story inspired me and made me realise what I wanted to do when I get older. She talked about her daughter and she also talked about how when she was a child she was restricted from a lot of things. This inspired me to want to work with kids, and help them believe in themselves. I now want to be either a play therapist or a social worker. In the end RQ’s interview made me emotional, because of some of the things she said surprised me; I didn’t think she had that much stuff going on. We all walked out thinking about what she said.



Women’s Voice: Pre-Interview preparations

Over the summer period the Strong Sisters moved into Phase 2 of their project and started looking at Women’s Voice. Within this phase they are interviewing women they have identified as ‘Strong Sister’s.

As can be seen in the pictures the Sisters worked really hard on compiling some questions.

Recalling their learning at the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Education Trust, the Sisters even drafted up their own briefing and consent forms.


Reflection on our learning …

14th July 2019 – reflecting on our exhibition


Before the exhibition I felt excited and I couldn’t wait to see people walk in. I did invite a lot of people, but not a lot of them came.

Once I found out that Kate Hollern was coming, I got nervous and wasn’t able to cut my fabric properly.

Later I was a bit annoyed as I had initially cut out quite a lot of pieces of fabric, but the uptake on the fabric paint was slow at the beginning. So I got a bit upset, as I felt that people didn’t consider the efforts I had put in to cutting the fabric.

However seeing Kate Hollern use my fabric made me happy. I felt honoured.

Seeing my mum walk in made me happy, because she got to see everything the group had done so far, I think she was proud of me.


Before the exhibition I was feeling really anxious & nervous because I didn’t know how many people was going to turn up, and when I turned up on the day I was still nervous. Also when I met Kate Hollern (MP) I was very surprised to see her.

During the day, the day was very busy and their was a lot of people there and lots of pictures taken also lots of good food available.

During the day I helped on the poster and information table so the visitors can look at all the information, and pictures of all the things we have been doing during the Strong Sisters Project.

On the day, everyone had so much more awareness available to them throughout the day about the different people who has been such a big inspiration to so many young girls.

At the end of the day we all managed to raise a lot of money to get more resources to better the project.


Before the exhibition started, I was regretting it from the start. I felt anxiety and stress from just thinking about it.

Because this was our first exhibition, so we had to make a good impression for people to actually listen to our opinions.

The thing I hate about these kind of exhibitions is people when they don’t appreciate what you have done, and for young people, this can hurt our feelings.

Besides this, I believe that the our group did well to inform people about what Strong Sisters are doing and how they are helping the community.


On the exhibition day I was doing make up. On the day, while we were preparing for this exhibition I was that stressed, that I went to get some chips.

I then came back and sorted all the make up out.

When people came in, I sat down and the kids make up.

Altogether we raised £45.80!!

This will be donated to the Barbara Castle Statue.


On the exhibition day I felt nervous because there were going to be too many people there, and there was.

I don’t like people much so I felt really weird, but as the day went on I got more into being part of the project.

When Kate Hollern came, I felt the same, it wasn’t a big deal to me.

I felt about like c..p because I didn’t want to talk to people that I didn’t know, but I tried.

In the end, the day turned out fine.


On the day of the exhibition, we woke up early to come and prepare our display boards, which presented the work our group had done collectively over the past few months. On the morning of the day, it became more hectic as we had limited time to make sweet cones that would be sold a few hours later.

For the first time I was doing Mehndi on people, other than myself or immediate family, so I was quite nervous.

Thankfully on the day, the fire alarm went of, and we were outside for a while; which gave me a break.

Kate Hollern also did a small speech which was inspiring, but because it was a surprise visit, and due to the fire alarm, I felt like the end became quite rushed. Other than this, the rest of the event was okay.


On the day I was excited but nervous because it was the first exhibition that we did for strong sisters.

During the exhibition, there was more people arriving to it so the event was packed so I felt nervous.

In the exhibition, I did the matchbox challenge which was to put 5 different coloured boxes together in 1 minute.

I met Kate Hollern which is the MP for Blackburn, she was friendly.

The teamwork for strong sisters worked well and after the exhibition I felt happy.

Our First Exhibition !!!

The day of our First Exhibition finally arrived!!!…

Bringing along with it a bucket load of nerves and anxiousness.

(If you would like to read about the day from the perspective of our young Strong Sisters, please stay tuned)

The girls came to BYZ early on Sunday morning to prepare the exhibition, their activities and boost each other’s confidence.

Fatimah was our very talented henna artist of the day. The interest was a bit overwhelming, and so Strong Sister Zunairah asked her own sister to help out – Thank you

Zunairah led on the fabric paint textile activity, assisted by Salihah.

Nat led on the Matchbox challenge activity, which she had learnt about at the Manchester People’s Museum.

Our Strong Sister Youth Worker & Dance Specialist – Bridget supported our young Strong Sisters and delivered a Dance Masterclass.

We also had a Salon Corner with our resident Beautician & Strong Sister Youth Worker – Kayleigh, assisted by Imaan.

We also had Sport activities delivered by Blackburn Rovers star – Jodie and Strong Sister Laura. As well as climbing with Nicole & Charlotte.

Steph presented our display of research so far, and presented an innovative challenge set by Nat. Can you guess what these celebrities have in common?

They all suffer or have suffered from Mental Health Issues.

The displayed exhibition itself showed ‘Word Walls’. These are words which describe the person in the middle of the wall.

Some examples from the Strong Sisters are …

Amongst the research presented was an introduction to one aspect that our Strong Sisters are looking at – The Suffrage Movement. Steph has been looking into Suffragettes from our localities.

Did you know world famous Suffragette Emmaline Pankhurst was from Lancashire?

We would like to say thank you to our fellow Strong Sisters for their support on the day:-

Lisa - Diversity & Inclusion Co-ordinator 
Laura - Youth & Child Development Manager
Rabia - Welcoming face of BYZ
Haleemah - Canteen Hostess
Bridget - Dance Instructor
Jodie - Sports Instructor
Kayleigh - Beautician
Kerris - Jeweller
Nicole & Charlotte - Climbing Instructors
Hannah - CEO of BYZ
Emma - Promotion

Kate Hollern & Maureen Bateson

Rebecca Bridges - Photographer

And a special thank you to our Families, Mums, Aunties and Sisters for their continued support.

And ... of course ...

Bheriee - Music Provision
Joe - Fundraising Development Manager
(yes, we know. They aren't sisters 😉 )

Please feel free to view our gallery of the day

Caroline the Curator …

On Saturday 6th July 2019, the Strong Sisters went to Blackburn Museum to meet the curator called Caroline. Caroline’s role as a curator was to manage the collection of the arts, collect and put them on show. Caroline also said that there wasn’t many women workers back then so they wasn’t able to find much work founded by women. Caroline believes more women curators than men.

For the trip to Blackburn Museum, I got lost but then I went to the Making Rooms in Blackburn to ask where the Blackburn Museum was and then I found it but I was late so I missed some of the session but I caught up.

By Nat

Caroline the curator, which works in the Blackburn Art & archaeology Museum. Caroline enjoys the history of Art & Archaeology in ancient world degree and came from a archaeology background. Caroline really enjoys Ceramics and also worked in Blackburn museum for 14 years and 4 years as a curator. She looked at objects in the Manchester museum and adores the history of each item which then kick started her career. All or most of the paintings are drawn by men but she doesn’t really know much about the history. Caroline was a curator before Jack Straw opened up the hart collection.

By Steph