Interfaith weekend in the shadow of Ingleborough brings women together

Ribblehead recently played host to a group of Muslim and Christian women who came together to explore their faith, build relationships and talk about shared issues of concern, thanks to National Lottery players.

Organised by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) in partnership with the Revd Anne Russell, Team Rector for the Ingleborough Team of churches, (pictured left with Zlakha Ahmed) the event was a reflective and open encounter which offered the opportunity to foster understanding, counter stereotypes and find solidarity in problems of mutual concern.

Based at Broadrake near Chapel le Dale, the weekend retreat brought together almost 20 women from different backgrounds to meet and share time in the scenic Yorkshire Dales landscape.

One aim of the weekend was to forge links between rural and urban groups, creating an opportunity for people to get to know each other, break down barriers and allow friendships to flourish whilst learning new skills and experiencing the natural environment.

The weekend helped urban women to feel more welcome in the countryside and helped rural women to tackle rural isolation and experience first-hand the richness of diverse cultures.

Sue Simpson from Bentham said: “I’ve spent the weekend celebrating life and just being a woman. I want to thank all my sisters for sharing this celebration with me.”

Another participant said: “I know we cannot change the world, but these opportunities allow people to share their views and frustrations and talk about solutions.”

The women took turns cooking for each other and Sahera Patel, author of ‘I’m not a Celebrity, I’m a Muslim’, shared her experience of being a writer and a Muslim in Northern England.

Art and craft workshops took place, including lantern making with artist Carine Brosse, willow weaving with Rachel Benson and ink drawing with Doris Rohr, as well as making mosaics and patchwork.

Rosie Russell-Cohen, Trainee Outreach Worker at YDMT, said: “It was an incredible privilege being part of this weekend. I would like to thank all involved for helping to make it such a huge success. We’re planning a reciprocal group visit to Bradford later this month which we’re all looking forward to.”

This initiative formed part of Ingleborough for All, YDMT’s community outreach project which enables disadvantaged urban groups from the 10% most economically deprived communities in the country to take part in fun, active and thought-provoking activities in the Yorkshire Dales.

Since 2005 more than 10,000 disadvantaged people have visited the Dales with YDMT, gaining skills and confidence whilst enjoying the health and well-being benefits of spending time in the countryside.

Ingleborough for All is part of Stories in Stone, a four-year programme of community and heritage projects developed by the Ingleborough Dales Landscape Partnership, which is led by YDMT and mainly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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