The Institute for Health & Wellbeing has recently established a strategic partnership with Hamara, a healthy living centre in Beeston, South Leeds, which aims to address health and wellbeing issues and social exclusion in this multi-ethnic community. Hamara is involved in a number of projects with a focus on health and wellbeing, older people, women's empowerment and youth work in addition to promoting community cohesion and inter-faith work. The centre also provides a range of culturally appropriate services including a community gym and cafe.
Links between Leeds Beckett University and Hamara were established in 2001. Since then the two organisations have worked closely together to form a strong partnership which has been effective in developing a number of initiatives including:
- A collaborative evaluation of Hamara centre (2007), where staff from both organisations worked together to design the evaluation and undertake data collection.
- 'Bringing People Together' - a Reflective Conference (2008) where Leeds Beckett University supported Hamara to hold a high profile community conference to celebrate Local Community Champions.
- The Leeds Cab Drivers project (2012) a Pfizer funded joint project between Hamara and the Centre for Men's Health, Leeds Beckett University aimed at helping taxi drivers overcome barriers to having healthy lifestyles.
The strategic partnership will develop a joint programme of research and enterprise focused on finding more effective and innovative ways that impact on health and health inequalities in the local communities that Hamara serves. Further benefits will be the identification of useful volunteering and placement opportunities which not only enhance the student experience and enable students to develop academic, employment related and personal skills but also contribute to Hamara's growing agenda.