Julie Cooper MP Nominated for Campaign to Save the Chai Centre

Julie Cooper MP

Julie Cooper MP

London, UK – April 20, 2016 – Julie Cooper MP for Burnley has been shortlisted from over 100 politicians this year for the 4th Annual Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award. The award recognises outstanding politicians and diplomats who are representing civilian interests at the highest level in areas of policy, social and business overall. Mrs Cooper has been nominated for the campaign to save vital community centre, the Chai Centre in Stoneyholme.

The Chai Centre is described as an open access healthy living centre for the community with a café, gym and sauna. The centre is in one of the most deprived parts of town and provides the local community, with facilities that bring people together in one of the most positive ways. The centre has become a casualty of cuts. Lancashire County Council has been forced to withdraw funding for the next financial year and has received a backlash of criticism from the local community. The centre is important as it not only acts as a cohesion hub for an ethnically-mixed community, but also offers a range of services and facilities. Mrs Cooper has also held surgeries at the centre in the past and has committed herself to finding sustainable solution for her constituents.

Mrs Cooper led a delegation of campaigners to County Hall Preston to hand in a petition signed by hundreds of concerned Burnley residents protesting against the possible loss of the Chai Centre. She has been supported by Councillors Azhar Ali, Misfar Hussain, Shah Hussain, Wajid Khan and Saeed Chaudhry, who helped to coordinate the petition following weeks of discussions with residents opposed to the loss of services.

In support of the centre, Mrs Cooper said: “The residents of Daneshouse and Stoneyholme have made it clear to me that, in this deprived area of our town, these services are quite literally a lifeline to many. With rates of depression and diabetes well above the average in this community, withdrawing services which help to prevent or manage these debilitating conditions, makes no sense at all.”

Her campaign aims to turn the Chai Centre into a sustainable social enterprise that gives back to the community. Mrs Cooper has shown sheer determination in supporting her constituents by her efforts to keep alive a well-loved centre that will be missed greatly should a financial solution not be found.

Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, Executive Director of Grassroot Diplomat, said: “All too often, we hear stories of our governments not representing our needs but Grassroot Diplomat looks upon selfless individuals in a position of power, who work tirelessly for their communities. The award seeks to create a culture of positive role models within our governments which encourages others like them to follow suit. Grassroot Diplomat winners go beyond their job descriptions and those shortlisted for the award should be proud to be recognised this far.”

While the campaign is still ongoing, Mrs Cooper will continue to work with all stakeholders in the pursuit of alternative solutions.

Join Julie Cooper MP and other government nominees for the gala dinner at The May Fair Hotel, London on Wednesday 20th April, 2016. For ticket information please visit: http://www.grassrootdiplomat.org/book-tickets or call 07511 816689.

Further details about the awards can be found on: www.grassrootdiplomat.org/annual-awards


About Grassroot Diplomat

Grassroot Diplomat is a non-profit diplomatic consultancy with the mission to build trust and strengthen relationships between governments and civil society. As an independent agency, Grassroot Diplomat shows no allegiance to a solitary government but will act in the interest of the people, no matter where they are or what state their country is in. We focus on improving public diplomacy activities by engaging government officials on sustainable social campaigns and investment projects that offers a positive rate of return for their people.

Nina Maxwell
Grassroot Diplomat
Voice Message: +44 (0) 207 608 5532

Julie Cooper MP
Telephone: +44 (0) 207 219 8521