Meet Rozina: Our community JU:MP Connector
07 May 2022
Rozina joined the JU:MP team as a JU:MP Connector, after having been self-employed for nearly 7 years, running a Bradford enterprise ‘Creative Flare’. The JU:MP connector programme is designed to engage children and families, and to build strong connections between local organisations, the environment and the community, to develop sustainable physical activity within local neighbourhoods.
Here she tells us about the journey that led her to JU:MP, what inspired her to apply for the role and her aspirations for the Bradford community.
Tell us a bit about your background
“I helped to set up Creative Flare to help support women, build their confidence, resilience and self-esteem and importantly to learn new skills that are transferrable across any workforce. We did this through the delivery of fun and educational workshops ranging from beauty therapy, well-being and recycling to sewing. It’s all about educating whilst having fun!
We built Creative Flare from scratch, starting out as volunteers ourselves and finding paid jobs along the way. It’s been absolutely fantastic! Hard work but so rewarding.”
What inspired you to apply for the JU:MP Connector role?
“The role was just what I was looking for in terms of personal growth, next steps and the value I could add, particularly during COVID. I was excited about learning how to work in a different way within the JU:MP programme as a whole.
Creative Flare was working to support women alone, whereas the JU:MP programme supports children and young people alongside their families. It’s fantastic to support so many of the public, to energise, inspire and support children and their families to move and play.
Interestingly, we started the Aller Grange women’s weekly walking group through Creative Flare and this is something that has continued and fits nicely into the JU:MP programme. The weekly walks are so important to us, not just for physical activity but for a more positive mindset and better mental health. It allows parents to find time for themselves, without distraction and provides an intimate space to just chat, share concerns and anxieties whilst feeling fitter at the same time.”
What does the JU:MP role involve?
“It’s really about making meaningful connections, and this is paramount, particularly with the COVID situation. It’s about finding out what families, children and young people need and want in the community. An important part of the role is learning and understanding what the societal barriers are for the community and how we can potentially overcome those barriers.
The most important thing will be to build up strong relationships so that families feel open to talk about any concerns, anxieties and issues. From my experience, I think some of the key barriers are confidence, fear, time, money and getting routines in place. For example, if it was a choice between attending Mosque and doing some sort of physical activity, then the Mosque would be the priority, as faith is extremely important for people and even more so in these uncertain times.”
Can you say a little about your connection to the JU:MP neighbourhood where you work?
“Well I moved to Allerton when I was 16, just after I had my son. I’ve lived in both Lower Grange and Allerton and have a strong connection to both areas. I’ve built my adult life in this area; my children live here – it’s a big part of who I am.
There’s so much community support in this area, which is really lovely – you don’t get that everywhere. We’re very lucky with resources that we have access to like the food banks, the after-school clubs and trips. There’s always something going on and the neighbourhood are so supportive. The services provided in the area are a lifeline for a lot of people.”
What do you enjoy most?
“It may sound simple, but I love to support people to get outside a little bit more, and have fun, lots of fun! Letting children play more and seeing the pleasure this brings parents and families is really important to me. I look forward to seeing children bonding with their parents.
I personally struggled with how to play with my children for a long time. During lockdown I really learnt for the first time how to spend time with them, key to this for me was patience, the cleaning can wait, there are more important things to be doing. Years ago, I would really struggle, and I’d tell them to go off and play with their friends, but since lockdown they couldn’t be with their friends and they relied on me more. But this gave me a rare opportunity to find new ways to play with them.
Now, when the kids come home after school and I can see they’re bored I’ll say, ‘let’s go in the garden’ and I’ll kick the ball around with them. The pleasure they get from this, from playing with their parent is fantastic! It’s simple and lovely. I really try to do this now as often as I can. I want to help others to learn how to do this, to build parents’ confidence to know how to play and enjoy playing with their children. Teaching parents how to play with their children is so important, and it’s showing them that they don’t have to feel guilty about it, the cleaning and chores can wait a little longer.”
What do you find are the main challenges?
“Finding fun things to do with the children was difficult at first, but then I started to take them to Pitty Beck a lot and it became out little place to go. At the beginning I felt a huge pressure to do home-schooling and then I sort of let that pressure go and realised there were other physical, creative things I could be doing with the children. It really helped to have online ideas like JU:MP@Home where you could get fun, creative ideas that don’t cost anything.
Some families told me to do baking with my children, but again, if you don’t have the money, and there’s cost to that sort of activity, it creates a barrier sometimes, and that can feel quite stressful.
For now, trying to get people to come outside a little more, but also feel safe, is a particularly complex challenge. Key to this is building trust within the community at a local level, which is why the JU:MP Connector roles are so important.
They need to be able to trust us and know that we’re giving them the correct information in terms of national guidance and advice. Bridging the gap between the community and local government will be an interesting undertaking, but we’ll face these challenges head on to benefit our Bradford communities, now, and in the future.”