Residents in Slough are celebrating 16 local people who have become champions in the fight against domestic abuse, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and human trafficking.
Having taken part in a series of workshops run by charity Jeena, the 16 ‘Jeena Champions’ will work with local people to identify areas of concern affecting the Slough community, proactively prevent further incidents, provide safeguarding and aid social cohesion.
Jas Kalsi, who graduated as a Jeena Champion this week, said: “As a Jeena advocate I will be helping more women and other groups I work with to access training and support around domestic abuse and other issues. The great thing about Jeena is how well they work with so many different and diverse groups in the community and get people communicating and networking.”
Thames Valley Housing funded the Jeena Champions pilot project through its Community Chest scheme, which provides grant funding to initiatives that build neighbourhoods, celebrate heritage and culture and bring about positive change in the community.
Speaking at the Jeena Awards Ceremony in Slough on Tuesday, CEO of Thames Valley Housing Geeta Nanda said: “We are delighted to have been able to invest in such an important and proactive project that helps people in Slough to raise concerns over unacceptable social norms.
“We manage almost 400 socially rented homes in this area, and the safety of our residents is vital. We’re proud to be encouraging our residents to be empowered and make a difference in their communities.”
Jeena will monitor the success of the Slough programme and aims to secure funding for the programme to be rolled out nationally.
Rani Bilkhu, founder of Jeena, commented: “We’re very proud of the Jeena Champions, the skills and knowledge they have gained from this project and their commitment to step up and support their neighbours, friends and families. By gaining insight into issues affecting their area and educating people about them, we believe the Jeena Champions can help the community take positive steps towards an abuse-free future.”
The Jeena Champions’ graduation took place 3 days before the launch of the UN Women’s ‘16 days of activism’ campaign, which encourages people to take action to end violence against women and girls around the world.