logo Burngreave Messenger Issue 33 - August 2003.

P.C.A. logo.Fir Vale Pakistan Advice Centre
by Rob Smith

On hearing rumours of complaints about the centre, which the centre believed to be malicious, my colleague Gaby Spinks and I went along to find out what was really going on.

Situated at 58 Owler Lane, the centre boasts a long history and large membership which we found were all well recorded. Entering the advice centre we were greeted warmly by the project management who, aware of our arrival, were on hand to show us the facilities and service they provide to this community. A large map of the Muslim world on a far wall was surrounded by many pamphlets and leaflets with information concerning jobs, benefits, equal rights and more.

People had already begun to queue for the use of their multilingual advice service whose reputation has taken a bit of a knock. Gulnaz Hussain explained to us that their confidentiality policy cannot be compromised and can offer the service in five different languages.

“We have access to Pushtu, Pathan, Arabic, Somali and English, we also have a long history of over one hundred and seventy members that began over eleven years ago, and was started by our first generation of local elders, belonging to the Pakistani community around Fir Vale.”

She continued explaining the free services they provide, catering for over 4,000 enquiries that are made every year. “Immigration and nationality issues, housing information, labour market, jobs advice, training and information, on council services, public meetings and more.”

As Gaby and I were shown further round the centre we observed three private sectioned-off spaces, in which an elderly Asian gentleman was receiving assistance concerning social security issues. I later spoke to Mohammed Ali of the Somali community, who having spent many months working as a young ILM worker, spoke very highly of the Pakistan Advice Centre and the amount of work they do there. This is Rob Smith reporting that all national and local quality standards as well as accreditation, seem to have been fully recognised and met by those who provide this essential service, for the people of both Fir Vale and Burngreave.





Pakistan Community Association and Advice Centre.
Gulnaz Hussain with Rob Smith.