A former Mayor of Kirklees has joined the team at the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice in Huddersfield.

Clr Masood Ahmed has been appointed community engagement officer at the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice in Brackenhall with the role building relationships, raising awareness and seeking financial support across the diverse communities the charity serves.

Clr Ahmed, who represents Dewsbury South for Labour, was Mayor of Kirklees from 2022 until May 2023.

He said: “As mayor I was able to make connections across the region with community groups, schools, mosques, churches, scout groups, businesses and more.

“Those – alongside my network of contacts built in my previous roles working in education, training and development, children’s services and youth work – will open up new opportunities for raising awareness and vital funds for Forget Me Not.

“I want to highlight all the fantastic work that the hospice does, particularly within South Asian communities. While around 60% of the families Forget Me Not supports are from ethnic minority backgrounds, its work is not well-known among these communities.

“My role is to raise awareness and understanding so that more families are able to get the support they need. I want to show people that the hospice isn’t like a hospital or a place where sick children go to die.

“It’s more like somewhere you can feel at home, surrounded by people who can support you through the challenges you face.”

Sadly, Clr Ahmed has personal experience of loss.

He said: “One of my sons had an underlying health condition and we were in and out of hospital regularly. We spent more time in the intensive care unit than anywhere else. Forget Me Not didn’t exist at the time and there was no support for us as a family, no-one to talk to, no-one to help us deal with the situation.

“When I visited the hospice 10 years ago I was taken aback by what they offered. My heart melted and I was drawn like a magnet to this amazing charity.”

Forget Me Not can only exist for families in need with the support of the whole community. This year the charity needs to raise £5.5 million and so relies on donations and fundraising from people, groups and businesses across West Yorkshire.

Clr Ahmed added: “I’m excited by the opportunity this role offers me to go out there, spread the word and raise as much money as possible. It’s not just a job, it’s personal to me.”

Georgia Lane, fundraising manager at Forget Me Not, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Masood to the team, although it feels like he’s been part of the family for a long time already.

“His support as mayor was invaluable, enabling us to develop partnerships with community groups, businesses and organisations that we wouldn’t have reached without him opening those doors.”

For more information about Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice please visit www.forgetmenotchild.co.uk

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.