Birmingham Central Mosque has set up a permanent food bank to help the city's homeless

Birmingham Central Mosque opened its doors over the Christmas and New Year period last year to welcome the city's homeless and hungry with a festive soup kitchen.

The holidays were a time where many existing services were closed, organiser and community activist Kasim Choudry told indy100 at the time, which was the logic behind the idea:

We are open anyway and it's nice to be able to help when it's needed most...

Birmingham is an amazing city that thrives on diversity and together as one community we can unite as one to tackle poverty.

The kitchen was a huge success: 150 people enjoyed a hot meal and some company on Christmas Day.

It cost £2,000 to set the kitchen up to run for a week, and needed the help of around 15 volunteers. But now, thanks to the Anzal Begum Foundation, the mosque has just acquired a permanent Port-a-Cabin from which they can run a soup kitchen all year round.

After Christmas, the Birmingham-based foundation, set up by Begum's family in the memory of her visionary local activism alleviating poverty, got in touch to ask how they could help. The mosque committee decided they needed a unit for storing food products and a place where people would feel comfortable, and hit on the idea of a Port-A-Cabin in the grounds.

The permanent goods and food bank was officially opened on Thursday with a ribbon cutting from Lord Mayor Carl Rice.

The day was also the eighth anniversary since Begum's death, and the mosque hosted a party in her honour.

Choudhry said:

Anzal Begum was a mother, grandmother, a businesswoman and challenged the norms of her society and helped those in greatest need. Anzal’s husband left her to support herself and her children, but through her determination she not only supported her children, but ensured they break out of the poverty cycle and ended up setting up a successful business.

Anzal was not only a role model in her time but a trusted and respected lady that others would approach for advice and assistance. Modesty and humility, a part of Anzal’s upbringing, were shown in her generous attitude to those in poverty.

For more information about visiting or volunteering you can visit Birmingham Central Mosque's Facebook page here

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