Highfields Users Campaign – A further update

Dear Friend / Colleague, 

We hope you’ve had an enjoyable and restful break over the recent holiday period and looking forward to a Healthy and Productive New Year. 

The season of goodwill was not clearly on Mayor Soulsby’s mind, as on our last working day before the break, we received a Section 146 Notice before Forfeiture relating to our lease. 

This most blatant and contrived attack on this Centre is one which we are very confident about overcoming but it seems to demonstrate an increased desperation on the part of the city mayor and his apologists/enablers! 

This continued abuse of the mayoral system is now receiving some national coverage, with Professor Gus John’s report being featured in the Institute of Race Relations website (see here) and with Adam Edwards, our ex-Chair’s blog on ‘Can elected mayors represent the interests of minority groups?’ being featured in the Runnymede Trust website (see here). 

The next meeting of the Highfields Users Campaign Action Group (HUC-AG) will be held here on Tuesday 17th January at 5.30pm and you’re welcome to attend but for seating and catering purposes, please confirm your attendance beforehand. 

Best wishes,


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Sir Peter Soulsby’s Reign: The Relevance of King Richard III Today

Dear Friend /Colleague,

As we rapidly approach the year end, I’m sure you’ll find the issues raised in Michael Barker’s latest blog of interest – see https://thoughtsofaleicestersocialist.wordpress.com/2016/12/12/sir-peter-soulsbys-reign-the-relevance-of-king-richard-iii-today/

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Highfields Users Campaign meeting on Thursday 8th December 2016 at 6pm




     at 6.00PM on THURSDAY 8TH DECEMBER 2016




Jan 2011: Sir Peter Soulsby (then Leicester South MP) said: “…..community governance here (Highfields Centre) I hope will prosper……. with support, with resources, with practical help, with a climate, a culture that gives the support that’s needed from the ………….city council and other public agencies …………. that serve the Highfields area. They must all work together to make community governance and the independence of this Centre, something that sees itself continue to prosper, see it continue to be at the heart of the community , sees it continue to serve the community in the future as it has done in the past.”

  • Highfields Community Association (HCA) – established in 1972 and continues to provide excellent services to the local communities
  •  Exceeded all LCC targets and much, much more
  •  Continued to provide a leadership role – locally, city wide & nationally
  •  Millions spent on city centre vanity projects whilst funding for Highfields services (advice, community, arts and sports) are cut and  other Highfields services (adult learning and pre-school) are jeopardised – is this what the city mayor means when he claims that ‘The services we deliver at the community and neighbourhood level make a real difference to people’s quality of life. They are linked with people’s identity, confidence, self-esteem, happiness and well-being.”
  • If you think the city mayor’s actions are not in keeping with his promise, then come along and help us to help him change his mind!
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Highfields Users Campaign meeting on Thursday 8th December 2016 at 6pm

Dear Friend /Colleague,

I’m sure you’ll find the issues raised in the following blog of interest – see https://thoughtsofaleicestersocialist.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/will-labour-councillors-fight-for-democracy-the-case-of-the-soulsby-vs-the-highfields-community-association/

Best wishes,


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Highfields Users Campaign meeting on Thursday 8th December 2016 at 6pm

Dear Friend / Colleague,

It’s been now well over a year since the city mayor decided to retrospectively terminate Leicester City Council’s (LCC) funding at this Centre.

Over that time, we’ve focussed on continuing to deliver the much needed lifelong learning and community developmental services to the largely disadvantaged local communities in the Highfields area.

However, the detrimental impact of LCC’s withdrawal of 650,000 from services in this area has been a matter we’ve tried to have reconsidered through our local councillors and MP but those approaches were all summarily dismissed by the city mayor.

Hence, Highfields Community Association’s (HCA) Governing Body commissioned Professor Gus John (see Gus John) to undertake a review ‘of Leicester City Council’s relationship with Highfields Community Association, with a particular focus on the period since achieving community governance status in 2010.’ – see attached link to the full report (In Search of Good Faith – Full report)  and the executive summary (In Search of Good Faith – Executive Summary).

Professor John stated in his conclusions:

This has been a review of one major, community based organisation and its relationship with the City Council.  Insofar as it has given rise to a number of serious concerns about the dynamics of that relationship and to matters that have far wider implications for the relationship between people and those whom they elect to represent them, I hope it will be viewed as a ‘case study’ of the elected mayor system in one provincial city’.

The Report was launched at a press conference yesterday and hopefully, you’ll have read the attached Leicester Mercury article, seen the BBC East Midlands Today item which was broadcast last evening or heard the Radio Leicester item on Ben Jackson’s show last night (drag the cursor to 02.26.35 on http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04fpgbs) or Jim Davis and Jo Hayward’s show this morning (drag the cursor to 01.39.03 on (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04fpgfd#play).

In order to share this Report with you, we’ve arranged a Highfields Users Campaign (HUC) meeting on Thursday 8th December 2016 at 6pm to which you are warmly invited. Professor Gus John will be in attendance to speak to his report and to engage in a discussion with us about the next steps.

In order to assist with the arrangements for the meeting, please send us a short reply email to confirm your attendance to info@highfieldscentre.ac.uk

Best wishes,

Priya Thamotheram

Senior Joint Head of Centre


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Unique Certificate in Higher Education course to train aspiring Advice service workers and volunteers launched by Highfields Centre.


A successful course designed by local professionals and delivered in Highfields through a successful partnership between Highfields Centre and Leicester University is being offered from January 2017 and potential learners can enquire / enrol for the course by contacting Highfields Centre.

The Certificate in Higher Education in Social Welfare, Advice and Guidance is the only new course that Vaughan Centre for Lifelong Learning will be offering this academic year. It will provide a great opportunity for volunteers or staff who may need to develop their skills and gain a recognised University accredited qualification  or progress onto Higher Education.

This part time course represents a unique example of outreach based on the needs of the local community. It is equivalent to the first year of a degree and is open access in that potential students may enrol without formal qualifications, provided they can demonstrate aptitude and a good level of written English, at an interview with the Course Director.

Former students have spoken passionately about how the course has helped them in their own learning journeys and how they were able to realise their personal ambitions and career paths.  Rehana Sidat said she entered learning after many years spent at home raising her family. She praised the staff for the support she received and the self confidence that she was able to develop.  As a Muslim woman she felt safe to be learning at Highfields Centre, a local venue she was familiar with already. She spoke about the challenges Muslim women face in entering education. The course had helped her in her role at a local voluntary sector organisation she helped to form to serve special needs clients. Rehana has since undertaken a subsequent management degree at VCLL and has worked as a lecturer and consultant.

Highfields Centre has been successfully running a version of the course for 17 years and graduates have gained employment in various public and voluntary sector advice services. Students have also progressed onto Higher Education and embarked upon Law, Sociology and related degrees.

The course has been re-approved by the University to ensure it remains relevant for the labour market.  Various modules are covered to include current social policy and welfare legislation and the skills required in social welfare advice and information guidance roles.

Mushtaq Ahmed, an ex-student and relatively new (2004) arrival in the UK said ’The course gave me the opportunity to learn the skills necessary for advice work and gain a recognised qualification. Following its completion, I have worked as a Careers Advisor and provided welfare advice in various community based locations.’

Commenting on a recent White Paper entitled ‘Success as a Knowledge Economy’ 2016 which highlighted the need to widen participation and to double it by 2020 compared to 2009, Aiyub Zamakda, Course Director said ‘We fully welcome the sentiments and aims of the White Paper to widen participation for all disadvantaged groups and across all age ranges and through the partnership fostered, it has been possible to target learners from disadvantaged and racial minority communities to participate and benefit from the course.  Many are now positively contributing to their local communities and economies as fully fledged advisers.’

For an informal conversation about the course, prospective students can contact Aiyub Zamakda at Highfields Centre, 96 Melbourne Road, Leicester LE2 0DS   t: +44 (0)116 253 1053   e: aiyub.zamakda@highfieldscentre.ac.uk

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Job vacancy: Football Coach


We are currently looking to hire a Football Coach here at the centre.

Post: Children’s Football Coach
Salary: £8.75 per hour
Type of contract: Initial Casual contract
Location: Highfields Centre. 96 Melbourne Road Leicester LE2 0DS
Days: Saturday mornings
Closing Date: 11th November 2016
Interviews: Week commencing 14th November 2016

Job Description

  • To provide quality football coaching sessions to children aged 7 to 12 years.
  • Preparing for classes and creating session plans
  • Maintaining and reporting session plans to senior management
  • Taking and maintaining registers.
  • Client care in the field
  • Setting up and packing away of sports equipment
  • Maintaining health and safety standards.

How to apply: Email CV to Furzana.khalifa@highfieldscentre.ac.uk.  CV must state experience, qualifications and DBS number and date

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Beauty Therapies

hcasBeauty Therapies

Come and learn about aromatherapy, reflexology and skin care with a view to using these for your own health and well being.

Image result for aromatherapy

Image result for aromatherapy

Image result for aromatherapyStarting: 28th October 2016 to 9th December 2016.
From: 10.00 am – 12.00 pm
At: Highfields Centre

pa.jpg£53.90 or free if on benefits or have a household income of less than £15,296. Proof will need to be shown.

For more information please contact us on 0116 253 1053 or email us at info@highfieldscentre.ac.uk.



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Community Outreach Programme

Community Outreach Programme — University of Leicester

Community Outreach Programme

This new programme, in collaboration with the University of Leicester.   This will give Univesity of Leicester students the opportunity to work with young people from the local community to identify local needs and to investigate, analyse & advocate solutions.

Outline of Programme

  • Starts annually in November.

  • You attend 2 workshops (Saturday 26th Nov 10 – 4, Friday 2nd Dec 4 – 7pm) where you will learn about the importance of Community Social Responsibility to large organisations and community groups. You will then work with young people from Highfields to design and plan projects to help meet their needs.
  • You will work in teams to develop a range of leadership, team work and project management skills and will hopefully make a genuine difference to the community.
  • You will also complete 15 hours of volunteering by mid-April implementing your project plan. You can start as soon as term starts.

For more information contact the Environment Team at University of Leicester.

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For the sixth consecutive year, the Highfields Festival took place at Highfields Centre on Saturday 13th August between 11am and 5pm.

This year’s Festival was located indoors and it proved to be a joyous and entertaining event, with over 1,000 people attending throughout the day!

The event was free and the activities and taster sessions for children, young people, adults and elders were fully enjoyed by all participants, with 98% of attendees evaluating the event as very good to excellent – indeed, 76% stated it was excellent!.

The Centre’s Main Hall stage featured some scintillating live performances by our regular and popular local artists and the finale showcased the Highfields Centre Music Project’s young performers who received a well deserved and rapturous applause for their spirited rendering of their self-produced music and songs which highlighted the Festival’s theme of ‘Celebrating Diversity and Unity in our Community’. Various information and community stalls, together with the tasty Asian and African-Caribbean cuisine food helped to provide the mental and physical nourishment for all attendees!

Jon Ashworth, Leicester South MP who attended on the day said the Festival was another example of the excellent work conducted by Highfields Centre and hoped that its work would be supported by all the major funding agencies in this city.

Festival attendees also said:

“It was an excellent event, especially because it went ahead when faced with all the challenges!”

“It was excellent and very welcoming to everybody and hope you do it again.”

“It was excellent and very friendly and great to see local communities sharing their talents, with great opportunities to see and enjoy Highfields Centre.


Priya Thamotheram
Senior Joint Head of Centre
email info@highfieldscentre.ac.uk
0116 253 1053

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