BCBN 10th Anniversary

On Monday 5th of December 2022, BCBN held its 10 year anniversary at the The Gherkin, highlighting our charitable causes over the last decade. We are proud to have raised over £1.4 million and supported over 100 charitable initiatives. For gallery photos, click here.

BCBN 10th Anniversary

On Monday 5th of December 2022, BCBN held its 10 year anniversary at the The Gherkin, highlighting our charitable causes over the last decade. We are proud to have raised over £1.4 million and supported over 100 charitable initiatives. For gallery photos, click here.

Markfield Institute Launch the Centre for the Study of Wellbeing

The MIHE Centre for the Study of Wellbeing (CSWB) warmly welcomes all partners and members of the Muslim Mind Collaborative to our official launch. This is an exciting time in the field of Muslim mental health, with the strengths held within Muslim communities being bought forth through numerous collaborative efforts. Dr Rahmanara Chowdhury, Director – Centre for the Study of Wellbeing

The MIHE Centre for the Study of Wellbeing aims to conduct research into contemporary wellbeing related matters faced primarily by, though not limited to, UK Muslims.

Where traditionally research has been conducted upon Muslim communities, the Centre for the Study of Wellbeing vision is to create spaces within which Muslims can lead on their own narrative and set the agenda in terms of how wellbeing is defined and measured for Muslim communities, particularly within pluralistic contexts.

MIHE CSWB focuses on two primary strands:

  1. Undertaking research regarding contemporary wellbeing related matters, designed to create impact at a grassroots level, with benefits reaching wider society.
  2.  Embedding of research and academia within wellbeing expertise held at a grassroots level in order to develop, highlight, share, and provide robust evidence of innovative community initiatives, and further provide opportunities for strengthening such initiatives.

CSWB Launch Poster

Muslim Mind Collaborative

The Muslim Mind Collaborative (MMC) has been formed as a result of years of research and community consultations conducted into the mental health and wellbeing of British Muslims and drawing on academia, statutory services, community practitioners, faith leaders, faith-led and psychotherapy services and those with lived experiences. Our aim is to widen the parameters of the agenda on mental health to consider the needs of faith.

MMC seeks to embark on a journey with our partners in ensuring access to appropriate mental health and wellbeing support for Muslim communities across the UK, to share best practice, resources and expertise. We believe that a journey of learning, collaboration and openness is required to have an impact on the mental health of Muslim communities.

We seek to maintain a community-centric approach, integrating local, regional and national services under a common purpose, to improve health outcomes for marginalised and underrepresented communities. By doing so, we hope to put Muslims and faith communities on the map, to lead on our own narrative and improve the way mainstream and public services engage and respond. We hope to build a lasting legacy of appropriate mental health and wellbeing support for Muslim communities across the UK. We want to enhance community efforts through recognition, sign-posting and integrating faith-based and community services into mainstream and statutory services, to increase access and engagement.


At the MMC, we understand the need for an integrated, multiagency approach to ensuring effective mental health support for a diverse community. The collaborative, by design, will work to further the faith equity agenda given the racial make-up of British Muslims, who we have identified as facing additional obstacles due to their faith.

Find out more:

Become a member:

Hidden Survivors: Uncovering the Mental Health Struggles of Young British Muslims

BCBN in partnership with the University of East London, School of Psychology today launched a hard hitting report ‘Hidden Survivors, Uncovering the Mental Health Struggles of Young British Muslims’ following a successful online event on Tuesday 22nd June 2021 attended by over 100 people and hosted by Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP.

Dr Allin-Khan opened the event by saying: “Even before the pandemic, young people’s mental health was in crisis, Coronavirus has only deepened the existing problems that previously existed providing a vital insight into the experience of young Muslims who have accessed mental health services. This report reminds us very starkly that anyone regardless of background can suffer with their mental health and there really is no one size fits all approach when it comes to support”.

Hosted by Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP, Shadow Minister for Mental Health


  • Catherine Roche, CEO of Place 2 Be
  • Brian Dow, CEO of Mental Health UK and Deputy CEO of Rethink Mental Illness
  • Dr Ghazala Mir, Associate Professor of Health Equity and Inclusion at University of Leeds
  • Vanessa Morris, CEO of Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest
  • Shenaz Bunglawala, former Assistant Director of the Aziz Foundation and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts

Thank you to the panelists and guests for joining BCBN’s landmark report launch webinar.

‘Resilient Me’: Mental Health & Well-being in Schools

‘Resilient Me’ is a unique service designed to better recognise, understand and support the mental health and wellbeing of young Muslims.

It is delivered in partnership by national children’s charity The Children’s Society, which has over 130 years’ experience directly supporting children, young people and families, and also produces the annual Good Childhood report into children’s wellbeing in the UK, and Better Community Business Network.

The ‘Resilient Me’ project is working with young people, schools and the wider community to find solutions to the complex mental health concerns faced by young Muslims in London. While generic mental health support is available for young Muslims, the ‘Resilient Me’ programme is informed by research which indicates the importance of culturally informed and faith-sensitive mental health services for young Muslims.* The same research shows that a lack of religious and cultural awareness from services can be a barrier to young people accessing the support they need.

The programme offers:

  • Counsellors and faith-sensitive support
  • Activities and workshops for young people
  • Advice and resources for schools
  • Training and materials for educators
  • Parent workshops

For more information: download ‘Resilient Me’ Programme [PDF] or visit Resilient-Me

* The Children’s Society Good Childhood Report and BCBN’s Mental Health of young Muslims in the UK, ‘Hidden Survivors’ due to be published on 22 June 2021.


Thank you to our Event Partners & Sponsors


Thank you to our Supporters

BCBN Sponsors

The Muslim Fostering Project (2017-2019)

muslim-fosteringIn 2017, BCBN in partnership with The Fostering Network and Mercy Mission UK launched the Muslim Fostering Project with the aim to identify and address challenges that affect Muslim children in care across the country. The Muslim Fostering Project is now known as ‘My Foster Family’, a rapidly growing organisation that supports the needs of all potential BAME foster carers. The Project has reached out to more than 2000 individuals considering fostering as well as children living in care.

On the 25th of November 2019, The Fostering Network launched the ‘Muslim Fostering Project’ Report, funded by the BCBN. The report

The Fostering Network embarked on a national programme, funded by BCBN, which aimed to highlight areas of challenge in the current system and encourage greater emphasis on elements of faith and identity when placing a Muslim child with a foster family. On the 25th of November 2019, the ‘Muslim Fostering Project’ report was launched to:

  • Identify the number of Muslim children being fostered at any one time;
  • Build a picture of the number of Muslim children being placed with non-Muslim foster carers, and the reasons behind these decisions;
  • Build a picture of the experiences of Muslim foster carers and those who enquire but do not proceed to become foster carers;
  • Explore the recruitment and retention of Muslim foster carers, highlighting barriers and identifying good practice; and
  • Review existing resources, training and support available for non-Muslim foster families who foster Muslim children to identify if fit for purpose.


Muslim Fostering Project Report (2019)

Literature review

One of the primary tasks undertaken within the project was to conduct a literature review on what information already existed on the experience of Muslim children in foster care and Muslim foster carers, identifying the following key themes:

  • Understanding the experience of Muslim looked after children.
  • Understanding the outcomes for Muslim children in foster care in England.
  • Supporting non-Muslim foster carers who care for Muslim children and young people.
  • Rejecting or rebelling against a culture or identity.

Download the literature report

Final report

The Muslim Fostering Project report summarises the findings of the project and highlights the importance of training and support for non-Muslim foster carers looking after Muslim children. Recommendations include:

  • Fostering services should consider how fostering service staff are trained and supported to conduct initial visits and assessment of Muslim applicants to fostering.
  • Fostering services should review their recruitment literature and assess how it responds to the needs of a prospective Muslim foster carer and the wider Muslim community.
  • The importance of collecting data about the number of Muslim looked after children and how a child or young person’s faith is taken into account when being placed with a foster family.
  • Fostering services should identify the resources needed for its foster carers caring for a child with a different faith to their own.

Download The Muslim Fostering Project report

Read The Muslim Fostering Project report synopsis

In partnership

the_fostering_network my_foster_family






Supported by


Mental Health Conference: British Muslim Youth

Date: Monday, 29th April 2019
Venue: University of East London, 1 Salway Place, London E15 1NF
Time: 9:30 – 16:00
Programme:  See attachment

BCBN in partnership with the School of Psychology at the University of East London will be hosting the first mental health conference focusing on Muslim youth which brings together multiple sectors including Muslim community leaders, health, social care, education, charitable organisations, academics researchers and policy makers. The conference seeks to address the gaps in knowledge, access and collaboration between statutory services, institutions and community organisations for a more informed, community-centric approach to the mental health needs and provisions of Muslims in the UK. Read more about the British Muslim Youth Conference.

Can you help us with our research?

If you are between the age of 18-30 and identify as Muslim living in the UK, please could you take a few minutes to fill out the following survey



Support the role of an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) in London hospitals



Support the role of an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) in London hospital’s, increasing survivors’ safety, health and well-being.

According to the most recent government statistics, an estimated 1.2 million women experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2017 (ONS, 2017), and an estimated 4.3 million women aged 16-59 have experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16 (ONS, 2018).

BCBN in partnership with an award-winning charity, Advance Saving Lives and one of London’s largest hospitals – Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (ICHT) are fundraising for the role of an IDVA. The IDVA will be the first point of call in any scenario or situation in which the person at risk and suffering from domestic violence will receive much needed help and support when they are at their most vulnerable. With your support, the project will see 110 referrals made to the IDVA each year. Read more >>

Advance are working to tackle issues affecting vulnerable women and girls, helping them to lead safe and violence-free lives and actively engage with society.

BCBN 6th Gala Dinner 2018

BCBN Raises £205,000 In support of charities tackling Youth Violence

Jeremy_ Corbyn_MP

The BCBN Board of Trustees would like to extend a heartfelt thank you for your support at this year’s Better Community Business Network event. Over 600 guests attended our 6th annual gala dinner on Monday 10th September at the Great Room, Grosvenor House, helping raise a fantastic total of £205,000 for the Exclusion to Empowerment: Tackling youth violence program and BCBN Grant Initiative.

Our chief guest for the evening, the leader of the Labour Party, Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP, made an impassioned address stating:

“As MP for an inner-city community, I applaud BCBN and its partner charities, who are taking a holistic approach to combatting knife crime and youth violence, supporting young people in their life journey and helping create a safer society.”


Our beneficiaries Khulisa, StreetDoctors and Redthread will work together, in partnership with BCBN, to interrupt the cycles of youth violence at every stage. Supporting young people at three high risk transition points in their lives, providing support to divert young people towards a positive future. Together, these organisations will support young people by equipping them with the knowledge and emotional resilience to make more positive decisions, helping them to lead safe, happy and fulfilling lives, free from violence and crime. The project has four key aims, which will be delivered through the work of each of the partners:

  1. Youth Behaviour Change Programme helps young people to identify and address the root causes of their disruptive behaviour and equips them with new skills to manage conflict in their lives.
  2. Life-changing training sessions that equip young people at highest risk of violence with emergency life-saving skills.
  3. Youth Violence Intervention Programme meets young people during the intense moment of arriving at hospital after experiencing a violent injury.
  4. Empowerment: increasing young people’s self-confidence and personal resilience.

As you are undoubtedly aware, BCBN events seek to raise funds for the causes that we support here in the United Kingdom, our activities as a founding principle, are entirely funded by the Trustees. Please continue to support the initiative on social media by using the hashtags #EndYouthViolence. We also welcome your feedback, email us your comments at and we look forward to seeing you again at future programmes.


BCBN House of Commons Reception in partnership with Advance & Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust


BCBN marked 5 years of commitment and continuing support to Domestic Violence Services, by hosting an evening at the House of Commons with Shadow First Secretary of State – Rt Hon Emily Thornberry MP.

The event saw the launch of BCBN’s partnership with an award-winning charity, Advance and one of London’s largest hospitals – Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (ICHT) to support the role of an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA). The IDVA will be the first point of call in any scenario or situation in which the person at risk and suffering from domestic violence will receive much needed help and support when they are at their most vulnerable.

Last year, according to government statistics 1.2 million women suffered domestic abuse and two women a week were killed by a current or former partner¹. BCBN’s funding will support 220 survivors of domestic abuse over two years at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, increasing survivors’ safety, health and wellbeing.

#BCBN5YearsIDVA Gallery Link

Thank you to our guests and supporters for your generous donations. Without your support we would not be able to support the life-saving work of an IDVA at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Accident & Emergency Department.

Shadow Foreign Secretary, Rt Hon. Emily Thornberry MP recognised BCBN’s ethos of supporting important and often neglected causes:

“What characterizes the (BCBN) network above all is their willingness to adopt difficult causes, the most neglected issues, the suffering that society just does not want to face. Whether it is supporting refugees or working to house ex-offenders, BCBN is always there for those who have nowhere else to go and no one else to turn to.”

Read more about BCBN’s support for an IDVA role at ICHT.





How your donation will make a difference








You can continue to support our cause. Every penny you donate will directly go to support an IDVA. All our expenses and admin fees are covered by the  Board of Trustees.


[1] ONS (2016), March 2015 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW)


Muslim Women Taking the Lead

On Sunday, 23rd July 2017, BCBN in partnership with Muslim Women Connect & Saverah Empowering Lives, presented ‘21st Century Leadership‘, a panel discussion of Muslim women leaders across sectors and industries at the 3rd annual ‘Saverah Women Expo’, InterContinental London – The O2. The landmark event established as the biggest lifestyle exhibition for Muslim Women in the UK and Europe hosted thousands of visitors across an amazing weekend, showcasing the entrepreneurial spirit of Muslim women, educational seminars and networking opportunities.

21st century leadership seminar

Thank you to our panelists for a fantastic discussion on inspiring leadership, seeking confidence, gaining empowerment, influencing change and building communities that support one another.

Dr Husna Ahmad OBE, the UK’s only female led UK NGO spoke about good leadership through humility and the need to constantly challenge oneself, seeking knowledge as self-development. She has been active in advocating diversity in the work place and spoke about how we can use community spaces to empower Muslim women.

Despite facing prejudice and discrimination in her aspiring sport career, Annie Zaidi overcame many obstacles to become the first Muslim female UEFA B Football Coach in the UK. “Coaching Football is no different to giving a lecture at Universities. Society doesn’t seem to grasp the similarities and opportunities to educate”. David Beckham called her “an inspiration to so many people” in a video message at the 2015 Sportswomen of the Year Awards.

Our entrepreneurial speakers discussed ways in which they balance motherhood, family life and the demands of running their own business start-ups. Sabah Nazir, Founder and Creative Director of Islamic Moments, the UK’s first Islamic greetings card and stationery company discussed the challenges of running a niche business. Her message to aspiring industry leaders, “take risks and don’t be afraid to take the plunge. A lot of women fear failure”.

View gallery of the ’21st Century Leadership’ seminar.

saverah panel speakers 2017DSC_7218saverah panel speakers 2017

muslim women connectMuslim Women Connect (MWC) is an initiative bringing together Muslims from a broad range of careers and different walks of life in order to network, connect with and nurture the next generation of Muslim women. MWC’s Mentoring Programme match mentees with a mentor who supports them on a one to one basis throughout their time on the programme. The six month programme, sponsored by BCBN also offers a range of workshops with industry experts and training sessions that give young people the skills and confidence to achieve their goals.


Supporting the REACH services, NHS Trust

Supporting Victims of Domestic Abuse with REACH, A&E Department, Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

guys-and-thomas-nhsThe REACH Services, which is based in the A&E Department of Guy’s & St Thomas’, NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with BCBN and with the aid of your generosity appointed a multi-lingual Domestic Abuse Advisor to provide in reach services to those patients who disclose domestic abuse during their attendance.This invaluable service assists both female and male victims of all backgrounds, ages and if required, their children. The demographics are hugely diverse, the referrals received by the REACH Team reflect this.As the prolonged period of austerity and cuts continues, the pressure on the REACH team has significantly increased, with far fewer outreach services patients can be referred to once discharged from hospital. The REACH team would struggle to maintain its level of service without your generous donations, it is your donation which is helping to sustain their life-changing work.

REACH services

 “REACH are absolutely brilliant, a way in getting help to people when they most need it. It is brilliant that BCBN’s network supports the project which should be in every hospital across the UK.” – Donna Covey CBE, Director, Against Violence & Abuse.


We know that 2 women a week are killed in the UK as a direct result of domestic abuse. It is a well-known fact that children growing up in an abusive home will do less well academically, are more likely to become involved in gangs or other criminal activities and are far less likely to access further education and achieve economic well-being. BCBN has been supporting the REACH services since 2013, the work of the multi-lingual case worker has supported 665 victims and their children.
Rt Hon. Dr Vince Cable in support of the Reach Services, 2013 at the House of Commons, watch the full interview
Amanda Pritchard

“This will be the 4th year that BCBN has provided funding for our multi-lingual domestic abuse advisor. This post is crucial to the REACH service as our patients come from a wide diversity of backgrounds and cultures and having a specialist member of staff who can communicate with them in their first language is particularly valuable in times of crisis and trauma.”
Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive, Guys & St Thomas’ Hospital

For just £11 you donated a vulnerable adult or child is saved from the harm of existing in an abusive, toxic environment and from further risk of further incidents of violence and abuse. Thank you to our donors and supporters for your generosity, helping us to sustain the  REACH services’ life-changing work, in providing much needed assistance to disadvantaged people in vulnerable relationships and social support to families in crisis, helping them to rebuild their lives.

BCBN 5th Gala Dinner 2017

In support of the Muslim Fostering Project and BCBN Grant Initiative

sadiq khan bcbn gala dinner 2017The BCBN Board of Trustees would like to extend a heartfelt thank you for your support at this year’s Better Community Business Network event. Over 600 guests attended our 5th annual gala dinner on Monday 13th March at the Great Room Grosvenor House, helping raise an incredible total of £243,000 for the Muslim Fostering Project and BCBN Grant Initiative. View a picture gallery of the evening here.

The Muslim Fostering Project will be established and run by the UK’s leading fostering organisation, The Fostering Network and the prominent community development charity, Mercy Mission UK.

Through the Muslim Fostering Project, the two charities will partner to undertake new research into the extent of the challenges around recruiting and retaining Muslim foster carers and supporting families with Muslim children, as well as delivering community outreach aimed at increasing the number of British Muslim foster families.

The evening included speeches from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, entertainment by comedian, Paul Chowdhry, BCBN’s grant gallery displaying images of community projects and charitable initiatives we have supported across the UK.

In a video message from the Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families, Rt Hon Edward Timpson, who said, ‘The Muslim Fostering Project is an important piece of work and I look forward to engaging with The Fostering Network and Mercy Mission UK as we progress our national fostering stocktake, a fundamental review of fostering in this country.

Kevin Williams, CEO of The Fostering Network stated, ‘I am grateful to the Better Community Business Network for supporting and funding this Project, but most of all, I am grateful to the foster carers themselves who choose to open their homes to some of society’s most vulnerable children. It is also important that carers are suited to the children they care for and this includes making sure where possible children can be brought up in their own faith. That’s why projects like this play such a crucial role, not only to help grow the population of Muslim foster carers but to also educate those that are not from a Muslim background so that they can provide the right support for Muslim children in their care.

Without the contributions from our partners, sponsors, guests and volunteers, we would not have been able to achieve what we have, thank you to you all for your cooperation in making a delightful evening that was full of inspiration and generosity.


Muslim Women Entrepreneurs Programme Launch

Saverah Women’s Expo in partnership with BCBN

Muslim Women Entrepreneurs Program, Modelling Business Success
held on the 29th May at the Intercontinental, O2 Arena

The Muslim Women Entrepreneurs (MWE) Programme was launched by BCBN in partnership with Saverah women’s expo 2016, one of the largest event for Muslim women in the UK, held at maximising the potential for female entrepreneurs, designers and business leaders to market their product and services as well as expand their network. The aim is to inspire Muslim women to achieve their career goals by providing motivational and educational seminars that offer free advice, targeted support and access to our business network.


The seminar, Modelling Business Success featured prominent industry leaders, bringing with them their own experiences and journeys of success and determination. Across sectors, women are under-represented in leadership. Rushanara Ali, Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow spoke about inequalities in the workplace, empowerment and influencing change.

Studies have shown thatfemale-focused business support is needed now more than ever. There is a higher rate of unemployment and economic inactivity in the female Muslim population compared to the overall population.Entrepreneurship fuels economic growth and opportunities.  Joined by Pinky Lilani OBE on the panel – an entrepreneur, author, Indian culinary expert, motivational speaker and keen supporter of women from all diverse backgrounds, she received an OBE in 2007 for her work to celebrate women’s achievements. She is the founder and chair of ‘The Asian women of achievement awards’, ‘The women of the future award’, ‘The ambassadors’ programme’ and ‘The global empowerment award’. As a food guru, she has advised supermarkets, written cook books and runs team building days for major corporations based around Indian food. She is patron of several charities and was named as one of Britain’s 100 most entrepreneurial women and 1 of the 30 most influential Muslim women.

Food, Fashion and Finance are the three most prominent categories of Islamic consumer businesses. Saverah’s highlight fashion show, exhibiting Farheen Rahman’s modest fashion designs joined the panel discussion, sharing her journey in becoming a successful designer in the fashion industry.

The seminar was attended by women seeking insight into the fashion, media and corporate industries for an intimate session, filled with the first hand experiences of influential and career focused women who are making their way to the top of the career ladder. Join the MWE programme to celebrate the journey and success of Muslim women entrepreneurs

The Muslim Fostering Network

The Muslim Fostering Network: Refugees & Vulnerable Children in the UK

BCBN, in association with The City Circle presented a panel discussion on “The Muslim Fostering Network: Refugees & Vulnerable Children in the UK” on the 18th of March, 2016.

Children arriving to the UK from Syria and other war-torn Muslim countries are being placed into the care of families of other faiths or none. Invariably any family that provides shelter, security and care to vulnerable children should be congratulated and praised for this virtue. Children are however faced with an uphill battle of trying to quickly integrate into a family and often a wider community, this is all the more challenging when foster parents are of another culture, speak a different language or have dissimilar culinary and customary habits. At best it can lead to swift assimilation into a new home, but on the contrary it can result in a complete loss of connection with their religious and cultural identity.

This challenge of starting a new life in a new country without one’s own relatives, would naturally be easier if children were placed into the care of those who shared aspects of their background, language and culture.

The foster network is the UK’s leading fostering charity. We are passionate about the difference foster care makes to children and young people. We are the essential network for foster care, bringing together everyone who is involved in the lives of fostered children, inspiring, motivating and supporting them to make foster care better. Together, we’re a powerful catalyst for change, influencing and shaping fostering policy and practice at every level.


The City Circle is an open circle for open minds where individuals are pushed to think outside the box. It provides a safe space for communities to self-critically discuss and debate issues that concern them. We are an independent and inclusive space.


Mercy Mission UK is currently running the largest initiative in the country to help deal with the fostering crisis facing Muslim children. With thousands of Muslim children lacking access to Muslim homes and thousands more expected to come from Syria and Iraq in the coming months, it is essential we as a British Muslim community build capacity. Mercy mission UK has a team of dedicated team members which research, define, refine and incubate innovative community development projects. Our expertise is in developing projects in education and social service sectors, creating ideas and developing the foundations of successful community empowerment. Since 2007 we have pioneered some ground breaking projects helping thousands of vulnerable people.


PAC UK is the largest independent adoption support agency in the country. PAC-UK exists to improve the lives of families and individuals people affected by adoption and other forms of permanence are supported and enabled to live their lives to the full.

During this presentation, in partnership with The City Circle, we will examine why the rates of Muslim families fostering children are so woefully low, when caring for orphans is an elementary Islamic principle. There is undoubtedly a shortfall in the number of Muslim families joining the adoption and fostering network. More Muslim foster carers and adoptive parents are needed. Join us and our panel for an evening of dialogue and discussion.


Franca Brenninkmeyer, PAC-UK – The Agency for Adoption and Permanency Support.
Franca has over 25 years of professional adoption experience and has worked at PAC-UK since 1996. Franca was instrumental in developing PAC-UK’s assessments and intensive therapeutic interventions for adoptive families. She has Master degrees in Pedagogical Sciences and Counselling Psychology from Belgium and the UK

Tony Round, The Fostering Network – The UK’s leading fostering charity
Tony is the Head of Fundraising at The Fostering Network but has been working to support disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people ever since he moved in to the charity sector from business ten years ago. Aside from The Fostering Network, Tony has worked for organisations such as Young Enterprise and The Prince’s Trust where he first became involved with refugees and asylum seekers as the regional lead for the East Midlands, building up strong links with local religious institutions.

Sheikh Asad, Imam and Foster Carer
Sheikh Asad is an Imam at Birmingham Central Mosque who has memorised the Holy Quran, and is a graduate of Islamic Theology and Arabic. He is the CEO of Association of Muslim Supplementary Schools, a Shariah Council Panellist and Deputy Head of an Islamic Primary School in Birmingham. Sheikh Asad will be talking to us today on the Islamic perspective of Fostering and Adoption. As a foster carer of two children, he will also be sharing his experience and insight as a foster parent.

Azim Kidwai, Mercy Mission UK
Having started a career in the civil service, navigating through the ranks of CESG, the Home Office and finally the Department of Health, Azim Kidwai plunged into a career in the third sector in 2009. Joining Mercy Mission UK (a community development organisation,) as a General Manager, Azim has been able to launch some leading community programs through the organisation. In 2009 he launched Ramadan TV, in 2011 he launched the National Zakat Foundation, in 2013, he also launched Charity Right UK, and in 2015 he launched the latest Mercy Mission initiative, the Muslim Foster Network.

BCBN 4th Annual Event – The Refugee Council

BCBN Raises £274,500 For The Refugee Council & BCBN Grant Initiative 2016

The BCBN Board of Trustees would like to extend a heartfelt thank you for your support at this year’s Better Community Business Network event. Over 500 guests attended our 4th annual gala dinner on Monday 15th February, helping raise a spectacular total of £274,500 for the Refugee Council Children’s Service and the BCBN Grant Initiative.

Amongst distinguished guests, keynote speakers included the award winning actress and celebrated humanitarian Mrs Vanessa Redgrave, the current Labour candidate for the 2016 London Mayoral elections, the Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP, and the Chief Executive at the UK Refugee Council Mr Maurice Wren.

A presentation titled ‘Where the Children Sleep’ by the prized Swedish photojournalist Magnus Wennman, who travelled across Europe and the Middle East, capturing poignant imagery of refugee children and a special videography were shown, highlighting the plight of destitute children affected by war.

The ever graceful Vanessa Redgrave encouraged the continued aid and assistance towards displaced, young victims of war, a cause that is particularly close to her heart.

“This is one of the worst recent humanitarian crises effecting millions of men, women and children. Our voice should be clear, refugees are welcome, welcome!”

Maurice Wren the Chief Executive of the Refugee Council commented:

“The impact and value of BCBN’s work, both in raising awareness and generating charitable donations, cannot be underestimated and we are immensely grateful to BCBN’S Trustees for their wonderful support. Their focus on the plight of unaccompanied and separated refugee children is to be warmly commended, and the very substantial donations that BCBN has been instrumental in generating will ensure that vulnerable and traumatised children seeking refugee protection in the UK can continue to count on the empathetic support of the Refugee Council’s Children’s Services.”

Without the contributions from our partners, sponsors, guests and volunteers, we would not have been able to achieve what we have, thank you to you all for your generosity.


BCBN Grant Initiative aims to empower UK charities and credible community projects with grants awards of up to £3,000 per charity every month.

Refugee Council logo 2013 BLUE

RC The Refugee Council’s Youth Development project works with refugee children who arrive in the United Kingdom alone after fleeing war, persecution and human rights abuse abroad. We help improve their academic performance, professional prospects and social integration by running English and maths classes, securing their college places and hosting skills workshops, cultural trips and social evenings. In 2014/15, we helped 342 refugee children to rebuild their lives this way.

BCBN Grant Award Ceremony – December

BCBN was honoured to hold its 4th and final Grant Award Ceremony of 2015 on Monday 7th December in support of projects that assist the elderly during the winter months.

On average some 20,000 people die during the winter months in England and Wales, tragically it has been reported that the figure is set to reach 40,000 this year. The majority of excess winter deaths occur among those aged 60 and over, many victims are fuel poor and have no choice but to live in energy deficient houses that are expensive to heat. Combined with rising energy prices and squeezed incomes, the elderly live in temperatures below 18°C. As such they develop serious risks to their health. These excess winter deaths are associated with low temperatures, low income and health conditions like infectious, respiratory or circulatory diseases.

However research has shown that these excess winter deaths are preventable and can be reduced if the elderly could afford to adopt a few simple adjustments to make their houses more energy efficient and warmer. If treated, casualties are avoidable which means less strain and cost on the NHS and social care services. The BCBN Grant Initiative is proud to be sponsoring 3 respected charities who are actively working to address this issue.

Black prince trust

Black Princes Trust operate community sports, health and exercise sessions for the local community. BCBN’s grant of £3000 to the community hub in Lambeth will help provide sport activities through the use of a health mentor and fitness trainer working with vulnerable and often marginalised people. Philip Bobia will provide free sport sessions and exercise classes to disabled and elderly people from the Ethelred Estate, South London.


Age UK is the country’s largest charity dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life. BCBN’s grant of £3,000 will help fund Age UK’s Winter Warmth programme and support local Age UK partners to provide items such as home energy checks and packs containing warm clothing and food, helping to keep older people warm and safe this winter.

Muslim aid

Muslim Aid, a leading British Muslim relief and development agency seeking to tackle poverty in partnership with The HEET project, formed by local residents wanting to see more community action to tackle the problems of climate change and fuel poverty. BCBN’s donation of £2,995.36 will help to reduce the impact of winter on the health of 194 vulnerable and fuel poor elderly people, in Enfield and Waltham Forest, through the installation of 388 draught excluders and 970 radiator reflectors.

There is a well know Prophetic statement that crystallises our duties towards the old and infirm, it reads:

They are not from amongst us who do not have mercy on the young and do not honour and serve the elderly.
– (Tirmidhi)

We hope our collective efforts play their part in comforting some of the most vulnerable in our society.

Reach Services, NHS Trust 2016-2017

An Evening in Support of The Reach Service

Held at the Florence Nightingale Museum, Guys & St Thomas’ Hospital, BCBN awards £18,059 to the Reach Services for its third year. The delightful evening of engagement and award presentations was held at the enchanting Florence Nightingale Museum.

Considered the most influential woman in Victorian Britain after Queen Victoria, Florence Nightingale is famous for being the ‘Lady with the Lamp’ who organised the nursing of sick and wounded soldiers during the Crimean War, her farsighted ideas and reforms having had a big impact on modern healthcare. Guests were treated to a guided tour around the museum which boasts a large historical collection of items, such as the Turkish lantern she used in the Crimean War and spans most of her life. A superb setting and testament to a compassionate and pioneering lady, who was all about caring for others.

On the evening the Reach Services project, based at the hospital, received an award of £18,059 from BCBN for the third year running, since government cuts had pre-empted its possible closure. The Reach Service carries out life-changing work providing assistance to the victims of domestic abuse, disadvantaged people in vulnerable relationships and social support to families in crisis, helping to rebuild their lives.

One in four women experience domestic violence or abuse at some point in their lives and over a hundred women a year lose their lives.

“Projects like REACH are absolutely brilliant, a way in getting help to people when they most need it. It is brilliant that BCBN’s network supports the project which should be in every hospital across the UK”

– Donna Covey CBE, Director, Against Violence & Abuse.

BCBN Grant Award Ceremony – March

BCBN distributed a total of £10,922.22 to 3 inspiring charities, this term. Our community grant awards were distributed to Sense for Deafblind People, MADE in Europe and Mosaic – The Princes Trust.

BCBN would like to express a very special thank you to our sponsors and donors from within the community for supporting us.

Mosaic Logo

Mosaic, delivers an Ex-offenders Programme along with Millwall Football Club using football as a focus to inspire 24 young people within the criminal justice system. A grant of £5,000 will assist in providing an effective, professionally run and focused programme, which will provide the opportunities and skill to these young ex-offenders to rebuild and strengthen their lives. Read more.

Made logo

MADE in Europe, a UK-registered charity which works to mobilise UK Muslim communities to take a leading role in tackling global poverty and injustice through campaigning, volunteering and education – building socially responsible and engaged individuals who realise their equal and important role as members of society. BCBN’s grant award of £3000goes to the Living below the Poverty Line and Sustainability: Farming, Food and thought projects. These unique projects will be taught in several schools and youth groups in the North of England that have one of the highest levels of deprivation to take part in these key programmes. Read more.

Sense logo

Sense, for Deafblind People, a national charity that supports and campaigns for children and adults who are deafblind. Sense are soon launching the only dedicated deafblind children’s centre in London- one of just four of its kind in the UK. This fully accessible centre has been designed around the needs of children with both hearing and sight difficulties, who often have additional disabilities. BCBN has donated £2,922.20 towards sensory equipment for the children’s centre. Read more.

BCBN Grant Initiative Launch

KPMG headline sponsors of the launch of BCBN’s Grant Initiative

Over 100 individuals from a business and professional background, joined as at KPMG for the launch of the Better Community Business Network Grant Initiative with guest speaker, previous Attorney General, Rt Hon Dominic Grieve MP.

BCBN’s Grant Initiative aims to empower local charities and community projects. BCBN awards up to £3,000 per charity ever month to support grass root community causes and charitable projects across the UK.

We would also like to show our deep appreciation to KPMG for their generosity and welcome in hosting the Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP. Cheque presentations were made to representatives of the Date Palm Project alongside BCBN Grant Initiative awards to Art4Space, Sufra NW Food Bank, Metropolitan Blind Sport and Hounslow Asian and African Youth Association.

Art 4 Space logo

Art4Space new centre in Lambeth delivers a range of community art activities and training courses to local schools, youth groups, local residents, tenants and residents groups, and local people experiencing ill health, disability or unemployment and will become the outward facing community focus of the development running projects that make a real difference in this local community. BCBN’s £3000 grant is for a community mosaic and ceramic art piece celebrating the history of the local area. The artwork will be designed and created by children and adults from the local community.

Sufra logo

Sufra NW London is a community food bank and kitchen that works to reduce the impact of food poverty in Brent. A significant portion of those who access the food bank are vulnerable young people between the ages 16-25 years who live independently in hostels or council flats, which may have limited cooking facilities. The Project will train vulnerable people who have recently left care, suffered abuse or domestic violence and/ or access drug rehabilitation BCBN’s £800 grant award to Sufra Food Academy will help teach young people basic cooking skills for 10 weeks.

Haaga logo

HAAYA (Hounslow Asian and African Youth Association) is a minority ethnic led voluntary organisation based in the borough of Hounslow. HAAYA’s activities and services are centred on around the educational, welfare, spiritual and physical development of young people from the Asian and African communities. BCBN’s Grant Award of £3,000 has been allocated to HAAYA’s Saturday Supplementary School which seeks to raise academic and general standards of underachieving youngsters aged 11 years to 18 years from the minority ethnic communities in the Hounslow and surrounding boroughs in West London by motivating their attitudes towards learning and building their self-esteem.

Guest speaker, Dominic Grieve QC MP met with grant initiative recipients, beneficiaries and guests. He commented:

“It is an honour and a privilege to be associated with the Better Community Business Network. As a politician, we are all too often brought society’s problems to solve by some magical wand, so it is refreshing to come across BCBN, which aims to provide solutions from within society itself for intractable issues. I am very happy to associate myself with BCBN’s simple message, that those who are able should seek to help those who are not so fortunate”. 

Reach Services, NHS Trust 2015-2016

BCBN donates £18,059 to the Reach Services, NHS Trust

Opposite the Palace of Westminster, Guys & St Thomas’ Hospital has a history dating back over 800 years, associated with such illustrious names as Florence Nightingale it is one of London’s most famous hospitals. The delightful evening of engagement and award presentations saw the Reach Services project, based at the hospital, receive an award of £18,059 from BCBN for the second year running since government cuts had pre-empted its possible closure.

The Reach Service carries out life-changing work providing assistance to disadvantaged people in vulnerable relationships and social support to families in crisis, helping to rebuild their lives. Through the partnership, BCBN funded the salary for a Multi-lingual Domestic Abuse Advisor for its second year, assisting women and children in vulnerable situations.

Since BCBN’s funding began, the REACH service has been able to support 180 victims of domestic abuse, who between them had 160 children. This equates to 340 people who REACH’s domestic abuse advisor has helped to keep safe and reduce the risk of further violence. The REACH service continues to have one of the lowest rates of repeat victimisation and being able to discuss safety plans and address patients’ own personal and particular circumstances in the language they prefer to use; enabling them to improve their situation and keep them safe.

“The entire Emergency Department were delighted that BCBN agreed to provide future funding as our clinical staff understood how beneficial such a post has proven to be to our vulnerable, at risk patients. The legacy of our award is that each patient who is referred to the REACH service is given the same, equal level of service regardless of their ethnicity or religion”. 

– Laura, REACH Manager

BCBN 3rd Annual Event – The Date Palm Project

BCBN raises £205,800 for the Date Palm Project and BCBN Grant Initiative

Over 500 people attended the BCBN 3rd annual event on Monday 24th February 2014 at the Great Room, Park Lane to raise an incredible total of £205,800 for the Date Palm Project and BCBN Grant Initiative. Without the contributions of our partners, sponsors and guests, in terms of time, effort and donations, we would not have been able to achieve so much.

Our special guest, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Nick Clegg, spoke passionately about the rehabilitation of offenders. In his exclusive press interview to BCBN, he applauded the project for its ground-breaking collaboration between St Mungo’s, National Zakat Foundation and the Better Community Business Network.

“The Date Palm Project really epitomises the kind of reforms I want to see with the criminal justice system. This is taking young offenders who are alienated from their communities, ostracised from their families [and] pointing them in the right direction…”

The Deputy Prime Minister is a keen supporter of BCBN causes and commended the charity for its key role in working with local community projects.

“As someone who is a great supporter of grass root projects, I do think BCBN is a model for others to follow.”

The Date Palm Project (London) is a ground-breaking supported housing project that seeks to transform the lives of young Muslim prison leavers, reducing re-offending rates and helping them to become independent and useful members of society. The project is a unique collaboration between the National Zakat Foundation, St Mungo’s (the homeless person’s charity) and the Better Community Business Network, each bringing their own expertise to tackling the disproportionately high rate of re-offending amongst the young Muslim prison population.

In conjunction with the Date Palm Project (London), BCBN launches its Grants Initiative. This initiative will distribute up to £3000 per month to small but credible community projects which are able to demonstrate the positive impact that they add to the local community. The Initiative will run throughout the year, alongside BCBN’s more headline efforts.


St Mungo’s Broadway is a homelessness charity and housing association our clients are at the heart of what we do. We provide a bed and support to more than 2,500 people a night who are either homeless or at risk, and work to end homelessness and rebuild lives.

NZF logo

National Zakat Foundation’s is a ground-breaking initiative which aims to utilise Zakat funds and voluntary donations collected in the United Kingdom for the benefit of local, deserving recipients. This group includes some of the most vulnerable members of our community, including widows, orphans, refugees, the aged as well as the homeless.


BCBN Grant Initiative aims to empower UK charities and credible community projects with grants awards of up to £3,000 per charity every month

Reach Services, NHS Trust 2014-2015

BCBN raises £37,500 for the Reach Services, NHS trust

Over 125 individuals from a business and professional background from the Muslim and wider community came together in support of the REACH Service, NHS Trust with the sole purpose of raising £37,500 that will allow REACH to pursue its life-changing work in providing assistance to disadvantaged people in vulnerable relationships and social support to families in crisis, helping to rebuild their lives. Through the generous contributions from our sponsors and donors, REACH will be able to employ a multi-lingual, Domestic Abuse Advisor at St Thomas’ Hospital, Accident & Emergency Unit to provide an outreach service that aids women of all ages and often their children in vulnerable situations where their wellbeing and safety is at risk.

Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, has consistently shown his support for BCBN initiatives and we are grateful for his time. On behalf of the trustees at BCBN we would like to thank all our sponsors and guests for supporting the cause. The event has been a success and has proven to be a great opportunity to demonstrate to the wider community how we as Muslims do care about issues which affect all of society and how, by simple actions, we can deliver huge benefits.

BCBN has committed to raising and donating funds for the Reach project since 2013 until present.

BCBN 2nd Annual Event – MYH & Mosaic, Prince’s Trust

BCBN Raises £175,000 For Youth Charities MOSAIC & MYH

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales paid tribute to the generosity and support for Mosaic, which he founded, by the Better Community Business Network in his video message to the 400 business guests who attended the second BCBN networking dinner on Friday 14th September. The Dinner heard keynote speeches from Communities Minister Baroness Hanham CBE and Shadow Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP, generated pledges of an incredible £175,000 for Mosaic and the Muslim Youth Helpline.

Hosted by the BBC’s Mishal Husain and held at the prestigious Grosvenor Marriott Hotel on Park Lane, the dinner was attended by over 400 business leaders. In his video address HRH The Prince of Wales commented:

‘‘The aims of the Network are a tribute to the generosity and farsighted nature of our Muslim communities in the United Kingdom. I am greatly looking forward to hearing of your successes and in seeing the Network play a vital role in demonstrating how business leaders not only can be, but must be at the heart of our shared responsibility to create positive, flourishing communities.”

As well as keynote speeches, guests heard from Tariq Usmani, Chairman of the Better Community Business Network and CEO of Henley Homes plc, who spoke passionately about the Network’s mission to bring businesses together to facilitate trade and to harness the power of business to assist important charitable causes working in the wider community.

Mosaic’s National Director, Jonathan Freeman, paid tribute to BCBN for organising such an inspirational event, commenting that:

“The Network really is testament to the very best that those in business and those in Muslim communities have to offer to society.

Mosaic Logo

Mosaic’s vision is for young people across the UK to be supported to realise their potential, with inspirational volunteer mentors acting as role models through our structured programmes


MYH is a national award winning charity that provides free and confidential faith and culturally sensitive support services targeted at vulnerable young people in the UK. Our core service is a free and confidential Helpline, available nationally via the telephone, email, live chat text and letters. The service uses male and female volunteers trained in basic counselling skills to respond to client enquiries on any issue

BCBN 1st Annual Event – West London Islamic Centre

On Friday 14th October 2011, the Better Community Business Network organised a prestigious and exclusive business networking opportunity and charity event.

The evening brought together an elite group of business leaders, professionals and dignitaries for an enjoyable evening of business networking, entertainment, exquisite dining and a true expression of the altruistic nature of our business community, with £209,000 raised on the night.

The West London Islamic Centre (WLIC) has served the Muslim community of West London for over 25 years. It is a regional branch of the UK Islamic Mission, one of the largest Muslim organisations in Britain.

The ever-increasing congregation and the popularity of the wide range of services provided have meant that the WLIC has outgrown its existing facilities. It is becoming increasingly difficult to effectively deliver even the basic services.

The administration has agreed terms for the purchase of additional land adjacent to the site. The proposal is to demolish the existing facility and construct a self-sufficient purpose-built Masjid and community centre over six floors, totalling approximately 63,000 sq. ft [5855 sq. m.]

The new centre will be amongst the largest in London and indeed the UK, with the capacity to accommodate 3500 people for the Juma prayer. The Centre will offer enhanced current services plus much needed additional services.

To learn more about the redevelopment project and the facilities the Centre currently provides, please visit: