Al Ghazali Centre, Liverpool
The Al Ghazali Centre has refurbished a redundant church on Earle Road in Liverpool 7 and now provides a wide range of support to the whole of the local community. It was established in 1992 by parents from the local Yemeni community led by the current Director, Dr Ustath Ahmed Saif, and originally focused on providing Arabic language and cultural studies to the children of the local Muslim community.
Drawing inspiration and vision from the Islamic tradition, epitomised by the great eleventh century thinker, Al Ghazali, and building on the experience gained in setting up an organisation to serve the needs of their Muslim community, the Centre’s commitment has been extended to working with a wider and more diverse local community. The purchase and refurbishment of the church building was made possible through local and international fundraising.
Examples of the work at the Al Ghazali Centre
The Parent’s Advocacy Project supports parents in dealing with the educational system, advocating and attending school meetings if necessary. It also includes parent’s drop-in sessions in schools, an after-school club for children and setting up courses for parents at the centre. Initially funded by grants, now, partnerships are developing with the Liverpool Education Authority and other agencies that will enable this work to be taken forward.
The Health Project aims to increase understanding and awareness in the areas of nutrition, environment, physical activity and general well-being. Sessions and activities have been created for children and adults, and working partnerships have been firmed with professional and health agencies.
Sports and recreational activities are provided and are well used by the wider community. Basket-ball, football, swimming and karate are top favourites for girls and boys both Muslims and non-Muslims.
Many of these activities in, response to local needs, began as a result of successful funding bids. As partnerships have developed, the way forward for some of them is a community enterprise route. The refurbished Centre, while dependent on fundraising in the first instance, now has the potential for use a venue which can be hired out for events such as the FbRN seminar. It is likely that the Al Ghazali Centre, like many faith based social enterprises, will follow a mixed economy.