From humble beginnnings to where we are today
The Early Days
In the 1970’s, the main founding member of Al-Hilal Community Project, late Mohammed Abdus Salam from Cheetham Hill (North Manchester), was part of the committee in the only mosque in the area at the time, situated on Bellott Street. During this time he realised that there were growing needs in the fledgling community in Cheetham Hill including basic things such as applying for jobs, completing basic forms in English and bridging the inter-generational gap between immigrant parents and the newly emerging British born generation. As a consequence of this newly developing paradigm, his role naturally evolved in to that of a Community Worker which would help to deal with these new emerging needs.
The Mid 1970’s
The Precursor to Al-Hilal Community Project
This then led to a natural progression for him establishing an advice service in the mid 1970’s at the currently standing but dilapidated grade 2 listed building, Cheetham & Crumpsall District Library, on Cheetham Hill Road, the precursor to Al-Hilal Community Project. From here he offered advice and support in many community matters including divorce and marriages, applying for jobs, filling out forms for visa applications, social security and passport applications. A supplementary school was also established from here as well organising the provision of offering Eid prayers for the local community. He also helped bridge the generation gap between parents born in Pakistan and children born in UK by offering a mediation service to struggling families. The services were rapidly expanding and picking up and the venue was proving to become small.
The Launch of Cheetham Hill Al-Hilal Community Project
Purchasing A Property
Together with the help of a few dedicated local residents, funds were raised and they successfully purchased a large Victorian house at 443 Cheetham Hill Road, and opened its doors in 1977. Having a larger venue meant they could offer much more needed services to the local community. This is where the UKIM (UK Islamic Mission) North Manchester branch was officially started. Cheetham Al-Hilal Community Project was launched in 1978 from this building.
Al-Hilal Recieves Council Funding
After intense lobbying to Manchester City Council in 1978, Al-Hilal managed to obtain Manchester City Council funding to meet the needs of the local community. They successfully helped to deliver many projects over the years in conjunction with the UKIM North Manchester branch, including youth clubs and youth mentoring services, a popular supplementary school for children after their normal mainstream schooling hours, an advice surgery offering advice (on matters such as marriage and divorce), cultural awareness workshops and diversity training, inter-faith dialogues and the empowerment of women via various initiatives and community projects.
A Thriving Success
The period 1982 to 1988 saw many changes to the Project. The Manpower Services Commission (M.S.C) funded several positions during this period. The Project was a thriving success and as a consequence, in 1986/87 the M.S.C provided further funding. With the funding from the M.S.C, the project was able to provide jobs for a number of local unemployed people and also to provide them with an opportunity to receive training and gain useful experience
In 1990, the Project was severely affected by cut backs in funding and they lost the revenue funding for several posts. This severely affected the number of services they could offer to the local community.
In 1995, UKIM North branch and Al-Hilal moved into a new centre where they had facilities to take care of the needs of men and women of all ages and also people with disabilities, senior citizens and children, as well as undertake other centre based activities
The Early 2000’s
The Decade Of Recongnition
Still Working Tirelessly
Al-Hilal worked tirelessly in the community, FOR the community; and over the years the hard work paid off and it managed to achieve much recognition. Some of the successes it was instrumental in achieving were as follows:
- providing Halal food in hospitals
- Preventing the closure of a single-sex girls only Secondary schools in North Manchester
- The provision of burial spaces at Southern Cemetery (on Princess Road) for Muslims
Continuing The Good Work
The Legacy Of Abdus Salam
Al-Hilal Community Project worked tirelessly for the unity and empowerment of the Muslim community in Manchester. On the 20th of July 2012, Mohammad Abdus Salam passed on, however, the organization continued and volunteers continued with the good work and to keep the legacy going that he had worked hard to achieve.
June 2015 – To Date
Starting A Fresh…
Al-Hilal Regeneration CIC
In June 2015, some of the members who were also active members and volunteers pre 2012, decided to take over and carry on the work. They started afresh and gave themselves a new name, Al-Hilal Regeneration Enterprise (CIC). It now primarily focuses on working with; and empowering women and youth from the local community in the areas of mental health & well-being and community cohesion.