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Meet our Board Members – Nahed Akhtar

Here at Better Start Bradford, we really value our Board members and the expertise that they bring to our project. In this blog, Nahed Akhtar, one of our parent representatives, shares why she wants to be on the Better Start Bradford Board and represent the community she loves.

All about me

I’m Nahed Akhtar and I’ve been a Better Start Bradford Board member for just over two years. I was born in Bradford and have been here all my life and even though my husband has spent the last 10 years convincing me to leave – I refuse to!

I love Bradford and it is home. I went to school in Bradford. I went to college and university in Bradford. I did a BA (Hons) in Social Welfare and Law and whilst I was studying I was working part-time every evening doing debt recovery over the telephone which then led on to a job as a legal executive doing commercial litigation work for banks and some fairly big clients.

While I was doing that I did a post-graduate diploma in Law just to get my LLB qualification. My dream was to do the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and become a solicitor, however I then met my husband, got married and ended up having three children and here I am.

My children are aged nine, seven and three. They are three very different children: my oldest will grow up to speak the ‘Queen’s English’ – very prim and proper. My middle child is loud and proud and my three-year-old is just a boisterous three-year-old!

What inspires me to do the best that I can

I remember when we were growing up, my dad told us ‘we left our homeland to give you a better life and to do jobs that other people don’t want to do so make the most of your time here, make sure you get an education’. My husband’s dad said exactly the same to him and as a couple who’ve come from parents who spoke no English I think we’ve done well and I’m proud of where we are.

I’ve even benefitted from Better Start Bradford projects!

I think if you’ve got the parents on the right footing than the children will be okay. Children are like sponges they will learn anything, but I think it is with the parents, where we really need to work. That’s where Better Start Bradford projects such as HENRY and Incredible Years come in. I know first-hand because I’ve done both these courses and they are absolutely amazing.

So why am I a board member? 

When I was growing up my parents didn’t speak any English and I still see that my mum and dad survived. They had a lot of support from their children because we all spoke English and we were their interpreters for years on end. I look around now and even 30 and 40 years down the line Bradford has still got a lot of issues like this.

When I was just under 24 weeks pregnant, I lost a child. I faced a lot of barriers and it was difficult because I was young. I sometimes look at myself and my children and think if I had just landed in this country how would I have coped and I think it would have been very difficult.

And so that’s why I’m here and a Better Start Bradford board member. I just want to help and I think I am able to represent the community that I live in because a lot of people don’t speak English or they haven’t got the confidence to get involved in community projects like Better Start Bradford and I think I’m a good community voice.

By Nahed Akhtar, Better Start Bradford Board Member