Who we are
The Pakistan and Kashmir Welfare Association (PKWA) is a grassroots, community association operating from a purpose-built centre in the heart of Batley. We are committed to providing social, welfare and educational services to the general public, and in particular to the Pakistani and Kashmiri communities, of Batley; and to campaigning for positive social change on a range of issues.
The PKWA was established by a group of community activists in 1990. At the outset the PKWA had no premises or resources, and initial meetings were held at the homes of the founding members, who also supported the development of the organisation from their own personal resources. The initiative to form the Association arose out of growing concerns that locally the people of the Pakistani and Kashmiri community were facing exclusion in a number of key areas, such as health, housing, education and employment.
Evidence from community consultation, local authority surveys and census data, as well as the anecdotal experiences reported by the community, indicated that the Pakistani and Kashmiri communities were suffering from extraordinarily high levels of poverty, ill-health, and unemployment; and the feeling was that the situation was likely to become permanent for the next generations unless serious remedial action was taken to tackle the root causes.
The founder members put together a mission statement and one of the terms of reference was to establish a community centre to meet the needs of the community. In the mid 90's, after many long struggles, the PKWA won funding from Batley City Challenge to build a community centre, and in 1998 the building was officially opened. Initially, the centre was manned entirely by volunteers, as we only received a capital grant from Batley City challenge, and neither Batley City Challenge nor Kirklees Council provided any revenue funding to pay for a centre manager, development worker or other key workers. Undaunted by the difficult task that we had set ourselves; we commenced our work programme with four key aims always in mind:
- To alleviate the acute problems within the South Asian community of Batley; which we identified as high unemployment, social deprivation, low educational attainment, low participation in community activities, and poor involvement in community activities by Asian women.
- To promote good relations, a positive image and a higher profile for the Asian community in Batley in the social and business context.
- To work in collaboration with other agencies and communities to address the disadvantage faced by the Pakistani and Kashmiri communities, and to support other disadvantaged communities.
- To provide a means for improving information and advice around health and social care issues, and to improving access to health and social services.
- Over the years since the PKWA Centre opened we have not received a single penny from Kirklees Council to meet core costs, yet we have still managed to use the building as a base to provide a bewildering array of services and activities, and to co-ordinate several important research projects and campaigns. Please find a list of just some of the activities that we are currently engaged in or that we have provided in the past in the Community Research section.