Empowering Minds is a highly regarded organisation at the heart of our work for a prosperous Bradford District. The quality of their work is superb. They are inclusive in all that they do, building strong trusting relationships between people of diverse community backgrounds and facilitating discussion of sensitive complex issues. People, organisations and communities grow in confidence and understanding through contact with Empowering Minds. The organisation is energetic, positive and ambitious for the people of Bradford District.
Kersten England CBE
Chief Executive, Bradford Council
Sofia has played an important role in opening up conversations on issues pertinent to Prevent with communities. Her approach has enabled open and honest discussions that have led to better understanding and dialogue between communities, ultimately leading to more resilient communities that are able to refute extremist narratives. Sofia should be applauded for her commitment to building bridges between people from different backgrounds, the value of her work should not be underestimated.
Home Office, Head Prevent Areas North & Wales
I enjoyed the event, the students engaged well, your delivery was confident and presented well, I particularly liked the way you got down to a level they understood as males with you being a female, they showed you respect which earned you the right to lease with them.
I hope you continue to keep empowering minds it is a great thing as the mind is a powerful thing if used right. Keep doing what you do.
“I thought I would be wasting 3 hours of my time coming here but I really enjoyed it”.- Student
Sly- Student Officer
Road 2 Riches Conference- Bradford College
Excellent strategic knowledge of facilitator. Sofia is very knowledgeable. Some good thought-provoking stuff around hate crime which I’ll use in workshops. I enjoyed the subject matter. It was great to get an insight from across the region and understanding the complexity of the issues.
Strategic approach to Hate Crime and Islamophobia
Practitioners Youth work Unit Yorkshire and Humberside
A massive thank you to you for all your hard work and sacrifice. You are indeed a gem in Bradford and Tuesday night was a true testament to the massive impact this amazing course is having in the lives of those who access it. We are thrilled to have been involved and hope that this will not be the end of our involvement with you but carry on the momentum, enthusiasm and wish that something positive will be birthed out of this for Millside and other mothers in the community.
I was blown away by the stories shared and felt really inspired and empowered to be in the room.
Keep shining your light lady and making a difference in Bradford.
Centre Manager Millside Centre
Inspirational and Empowering. I Loved listening to true stories and experiences. I feel empowered and confident to be able to try and challenge issues. To be articulate and factual and shared knowledge and expertise.
Practitioner’s INFLUENCE & CHANGE
TAKING FORWARD YOUR CITY YOUR VOICE COEMO / REN Conference
Informative/Interesting workshop. It was thought-provoking. Learned about different people and their ways of thinking. talking about it makes it easier. I feel like I can support my colleagues more now. I fee more knowledgeable.
Tap Day Training- Islamophobia Bradford College
The beginning part was very outspoken, raw yet highly relevant to today’s society. It emphasized the nature of certain individuals and exposed their behavior, which allowed the children to understand racism further. I think this session was very beneficial for the youngsters and ourselves as team leaders. It enabled ourselves to understand the definition of discrimination and would make yourself think twice before making racist remarks and making people insecure. Gives you more understanding of behavior towards others. The group really engaged with the session and helped my young people express their feelings. Definitely worth its weight in gold and would love this activity in every police summer camp.
West Yorkshire Police Summer Camp
Hello Sofia. My testimonial for the Mothers Against Grooming and Radicalisation course that you ran is as follows:
Everyone who attended who had no previous knowledge of the subjects spoke very highly of the feeling within the group being welcoming and non-judgemental, they said once they realized that no one was going to say anything negative they felt that they could talk freely and express their fears and air misinformation that they had heard within the communities.
For those of us who had some knowledge of the subjects, there was still new information to absorb. The tutors were excellent and had a good knowledge base particularly yourself and PC Ahmed.
Many thanks for your input and I hope we can work together again soon-
Elizabeth Hellmich MBE
Chair person of the Millan Centre Bradford
I have worked alongside Empowering Minds on a number of projects and have always found them to be extremely professional, thorough and a pleasure to collaborate with. As someone not local to Bradford, the organisation was welcoming and kind in addition to supporting the work to be undertaken. No task requested was too large or small. Further, Sofia's passion is evident in every task she does and Empowering minds is a credit to her and her desire to affect change.
Dr Sarah Senker
Chartered Psychologist, PhD in Health Studies, ATD Research and Consultancy Ltd
We have worked in partnership with Empowering Minds Consultancy on a variety of projects and activities, all of which have been enhanced by the staff’s professionalism and passion for equality and inclusion. Most recently, Race Equality Network co-designed an Equality Training package for VCSE organisations which we commissioned Sofia Mahmood at Empowering Minds to facilitate. Sofia was engaging, passionate and demonstrated a vast depth of knowledge in the field. The feedback from participants about the training was excellent and we are grateful to Empowering Minds to sharing their expertise.
Executive Director, Race Equality Network
It has been a pleasure working with you. You have managed to engage with a very hard to reach community and its members. You were able to create a positive change in attitudes which has fostered for a long time. Coming in challenging the stereotype and having a frank dialogue about the risk of far right extremism has led you to gain the respect of the people you have worked with. In the current climate the work you have done is very much needed. I hope this testimony stands as evidence for having more work around education around far right extremism with you leading at the front. I am looking forward to working with you in the near future.
Pastoral Manager (KS4), Bradford Academy
The package was excellently delivered. Sofia was clear, concise and it is clear she is the subject matter expert. Her delivery was confident, and she had the classroom fully engaged. She tackled difficult topics which caused the audience to shuffle uncomfortably within their seats however it opened up a two-way dialogue into an honest, open and frank debate. She was not fazed or derailed by any question that she was asked. Sofia did an outstanding job if exploring bias and stereotypes and the presentation was very thought-provoking and more importantly relevant. The use of additional supporting teaching methods helped to engage and bring what potentially could be a boring subject. It was thoroughly enjoyable, brilliantly delivered and very well worthwhile, thank you.
WYP Staff training school
The training gave me a good insight. You never just spoke to us and expected us to just sit there and listen, you wanted us to get involved and valued our opinions. It was a safe space for a debate, and I would definitely recommend this training to others.
It was an interesting insight into some controversial topics. Refreshing to have someone who has relevant background knowledge teaching us.
Plenty of food for thought. Made me question some of my own methods / ways of thinking.
I think this input has been very useful as it has given me an insight into communities and has addressed unconscious bias within the force as a whole.
West Yorkshire Police
Evaluation for the Empowering Minds presentation was exceedingly positive and filled with superlatives from participants expressing praise for the key-note speaker and the content of the session.
The Youth Work Unit Yorkshire and Humber is a regional infrastructure organization and therefore the audience for our conference consisted of delegates from across our region and represented all levels of the sector from academics, managers, representatives from national and regional voluntary sector organizations and those engaged in direct delivery.
Sofia possesses a unique combination of skills and knowledge, which we have really come to appreciate in the intervening period. These spring from her ability to work with a very wide range of organizations and individuals from a number of different and diverse professional disciplines at all levels, from those who develop high-level strategies to practitioners.
Empowering Minds is frequently called on as the “Go to” organization to respond to national news developments by the media when they need an authoritative voice concerning particular issues.
Patrick Ambrose- Resource Director
Youth Work Unit
Informative. Could have listened to Sofia for much longer. Very, very interesting. Liked the game and the definitions challenge. Engaging presentation. Dealt with what could have potentially been a controversial topic well, without shying away from problematic areas.
Sofia came across as a very approachable individual.
Youth Work and Social Services Staff
The training gave me an insight to The level of information in regards to how radicalization can be portrayed by the media, the different manners in how media can manipulate the ideology society and those within an Islamic environment who may have a lack of understanding on how sensitive this topic is within our community.
-The topic breakdown was good and delivered in a structured manner which makes it easier to retain.
- Many interesting and important issues/ points were raised on how to combat/ tackle issues surrounding children. Looking out for little signs.
Radiclization and Ideology staff training
Sofia was amazing with the girls, a real inspiration and encouragement in carrying out our Leadership and Safety. Working with Empowering Minds has been a genuinely enjoyable experience. All our requests for the project were listened to and acted upon with presentations and sessions tailored to our specifications.
We have received constant communication and feedback, which creates a real sense of inclusion and openness with the provider.
Comments from some of the girls included:
“From this one session, I’m really excited for the weeks to come”
“I really enjoyed this session. I enjoyed our debate and seeing the points of view from others. “It helped me explore alternating viewpoints on a situation”
Partnerships & Community Engagement, Cyngor Caerdydd/ Cardiff Council
“Empowering Minds – This project from the outset has been an eye-opener for all the women involved. It dealt with de-mystifying the PREVENT agenda and helped mothers to understand and recognize what vulnerability looks like within their own households. Sofia used her excellent resources to full effect making the sessions interactive, interesting and thought-provoking. Mothers felt safe to ask those difficult questions and occasionally challenge. The partnership between the Police and Empowering Minds has remained strong throughout”.
West Yorkshire Police
Pc Fiz Ahmed QPM
Thank you so much for delivering the workshop on presenting at the Black Workers Conference in Bradford last week. I attended that workshop and like the other delegates who came to it, I found it extremely informative and thought-provoking. ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ was inspirational and great fun with a serious message. I appreciate the time that goes into organizing such presentations so again many thanks for your contribution to a successful conference.
Neera Sharma- Assistant Director, Policy and Research
Barnardo’s 11th National Black Workers and Volunteers Conference
The training was fantastic it gave me a better overview in what we're doing as an organization and plan more regarding inequality for the future. It was productive, useful, interesting, educational, necessary, inclusive, collaborative.
The cartoons on unconscious bias were very thought provoking –
TAKING FORWARD YOUR CITY YOUR VOICE COEMO / REN Conference
The discussions were interesting and very well facilitated by Sofia on Zoom. I often find it difficult to raise points in Zoom meetings, so would like to thank you for the effort of asking every participant for their opinions and feedback as it made for some thought-provoking discussions.
Welfare Rights Officer
“Making organisations more inclusive”
Insightful knowledge of the governments Prevent programme and is able to engage a range of audience in an effective manner. Developed a range of citizenship programmes to present Prevent as a Safeguarding programme in an easy and understands format Challenging myths and stereotypes and able to deduce programmes that empower minds and inspire individuals.
Rizwan Rehman- Strategy and Engagement Officer
Bradford Met District Council
Empowering Mothers Against Radicalisation and Grooming Programme was an inspirational programme for all our Mothers who attended. Our mothers now have the confidence to tackle difficult conversations with their children using the skills and knowledge they have learned throughout the 4 weeks. Our Mothers speak highly of the programme and would recommend that every mother should attend if given the opportunity. The delivery of the programme was excellent, Sofia and her team made our mothers feel relaxed and valued throughout the course. I also found the course interesting and feel I now have a wider understanding of Radicalisation and Grooming which will help me in my role as a Mentor.
Empowering Mothers against Grooming and Radicalisation
We have worked with Empowering Minds for many years and in that time their work has led to the building of strong partnerships with mothers of all backgrounds and cultures across the Bradford district. Their work brings mothers together and gives them the opportunity to discuss their lives in a safe and supportive environment and has been a real asset to our Prevent work in Bradford.
Prevent Coordinator, Bradford Council
It was wonderful working with a professional and passionate team who share an interest in supporting the local economy. We recently delivered a workshop for the Future Way's programme and we were highly impressed by the highly organised, supportive and committed staff.
Positive Echo Yorkshire Ltd
It was a great conference, I learned a lot of valuable information. Thought it was going to be very boring but it was very interesting. I thought it was going to be really boring but it was much better than I anticipated. Glad I attended. Very useful very empowering. A really good conference, which has made me feel more open in a way where I don’t have to be scared to express the way I portray myself. Love, really empowering.
Bradford College students
Fashion To Acceptance Conference