Pendleside and Marsden Heights Collaborate for Iftar Celebrations

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Pendleside Hospice and Marsden Heights Community College are pleased to announce their collaborative effort in hosting an Iftar celebration on Wednesday, 20th March 2024, at Marsden Heights Community College. 

The free event, open to all pupils, staff, key stakeholders and the local community, aims to commemorate the Islamic tradition of breaking the fast during Ramadan while fostering unity and cultural understanding, as well as raising awareness of the Hospice’s services available to families throughout Burnley and Pendle.

The partnership between Pendleside Hospice and Marsden Heights Community College was sparked by a heartfelt initiative led by the school's staff and pupils. Before Christmas, the school organised a 'non-uniform' fundraiser, incredibly raising over £1,000 in support of Pendleside Hospice.

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Maria Burnett, Teacher and Head of Drama at Marsden Heights Community College, shared her personal connection to Pendleside, expressing gratitude for the exceptional care her late husband, Peter, received during his time on IPU at the Hospice in October, 2023. The compassion and support provided to Peter inspired Maria to spearhead efforts to give something back to Pendleside.

Similarly, the school mourned the loss of Sue Haworth, a beloved member of the Pastoral Care team and Governor at Marsden Heights Community College, who received care at Pendleside Hospice during her battle with cancer. Sue's dedication to the school and her unwavering spirit deeply touched the Marsden Heights community.

Reflecting on the collaboration, Youth and Community Support Worker of Marsden Heights, Jenefa Begum, said, "Sue was like a mother figure to many of us at the school - she was meticulous, lovely and put her life into her work. Family was important to Sue and she would always talk about her sweet granddaughter. Knowing she received the best care at Pendleside in her final weeks means a great deal to us all.

We have always been aware of Pendleside Hospice and the incredible work that they do, but over the last few months, our connection has strengthened and I'm excited for both organisations to be joining forces for the upcoming Iftar event. We hosted an Iftar event last year, which was a real success, but this year, we can make it bigger and better by working together.

At Marsden Heights, our focus is on educating and inspiring our pupils. The event is a great moment for us to highlight and make noise about the wonderful work of our local charity."

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Community Engagement Officer at Pendleside Hospice, Leah Hooper added, "The young people of our community are our future. We were blown away by the amount raised from Marsden Heights' ‘non-uniform’ fundraiser and we can't thank them enough for their generosity.

We want to raise as much awareness about the Hospice as we can, while forming close relationships with schools and other local organisations. The Iftar event taking place in March is an opportunity to highlight what the Hospice can do to help families within our area, while embracing culture and celebrating a momentous religious event.

I would encourage anyone of all backgrounds to come along. Do something new, make friends and let's work together as a community. This will be Pendleside's third Iftar event, but this will be our first collaborative event with another organisation. It really is a spectacular evening. Last year, staff members at the Hospice fasted for the day, to gain some insight and appreciation as to what it's like. The feast at the end is, of course, amazing!"

Leah recently received an award at last year's Hospice UK National Conference Awards for her outstanding contributions to our community and for her exemplary work in raising awareness of Pendleside’s services among ethnic minorities within our Burnley and Pendle communities.

Leah was honoured to receive the award and thanked her colleagues and other organisations for supporting her along the way, including the NK Foundation, whose founder, Amir Saeed, is now on the board of trustees at the Hospice, and will be in attendance with the Foundation at the Iftar celebrations.

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Beyond the Iftar event, there has been discussions of future collaborative works between Marsden Heights and Pendleside Hospice, such as community cookery classes and the Hospice potentially using the school's facilities for upcoming fundraising events. 

One of Pendleside's volunteers, Petra Wilson, who is involved in the organisation of the upcoming celebrations quoted that the collaboration is truly "a catalyst of something great."

To attend the Iftar event from 5pm on Wednesday, 20th March, please book your tickets or contact Leah Hooper at [email protected] to be added to the guest list. Bring your friends and family and come together as a community to embrace diversity and support a worthy cause.