Al Masaar is the Arabic word for a progressive path. It was developed in response to the changing face of the Muslim community of Falkirk and surrounding areas. The new generation of parents were looking for an outlet for their children in which they would develop while meeting new friends who shared their faith and culture.
Starting off as Islamic Learning Centre, we gathered a lot of interest from parents wanting their children to learn Islam in the context of citizenship. Volunteers from the community underwent relevant training and PVG checks and would teach children of ages 5 to 11 the important values of Islam in an enjoyable and sociable environment. This project was also very well received by Falkirk Council who awarded us Special Achievement Award in June 2014.
In June 1014 we constituted as Al Masaar, widening our aims and objects for the broader Muslim and ethnic communities. The Islamic classes discontinued in October and in November we started up our mothers and toddlers support group. This was in the planning for a time since referrals were being made to us through Community Learning Development. We were pleased to be able to offer a support group to new and /or vulnerable mothers in a language they could access. We continued to network with organisations, linking up with the Parenting Partnership and NHS Forth Valley Sensory Centre. Engaging activities that helped mothers bond with their children were appreciated. Now that we have funding we are restarting Wee Steps mother and toddler group on at the Dawson Centre, 12.30 – 2.30, with a planned programme to continue the support.
In May 2015, we teamed up with the Scottish Football Association Equity Project. With the help of Atta Yaqub, Awe were able to offer free football coaching sessions for children at primary school age. Over the weeks interest increased with lots of girls coming aboard. Our team had a taste of competition when they played the local team, and lost! It made them more determined to train harder! Very evidently the kit of the opposing put off our team. Therefore we decided it was time we made our players, who come from different backgrounds, equally dressed, including footwear. A crowdfunding page on Just Giving has been set up for people to kindly donate for our team to buy kits. Sessions are on Saturdays, 10.30 to 12.
On 11th September, we held our first public annual general meeting, inviting guests from different organisations who we have and will work with. We presented information on our projects, discussed planning new projects and partnerships, had Arun Gobinath introducing himself and telling us about CSREC. We sincerely thank Cllr Cecil Mickeljohn, Arun, Atta, Kenny Muir and Antonine Friendship Link who took time out to come and support us.