Founded in 1998 by a group of volunteers the Karima Foundation worked to develop a paradigm shift in the way community work was delivered, at the time primarily to the growing Pakistani/Kashmiri Muslim population of High Wycombe. Our services are now open to all members of the Wycombe community and beyond. Our volunteers take great inspiration, from scholars including Karima Al-Marwaziyya a leading female figure from the 5th century, who provided for the needs of her community and was affectionately known as ‘mother of the generous’.
Over the years the charity has grown, driven by a family of over 70+ dedicated volunteers. The Karima Foundation seeks to deliver impactful and tangible community development by providing a range of activities, workshops, and classes that nurture mind, body, and soul. Though the charity is still relatively young it has grown from a group of community activists to a charity that has a meaningful impact on the lives of thousands of High Wycombe residents each year.
Most of the work delivered by the Foundation runs from The Castlefield Community Centre (CCC). The centre was part of a public asset transfer scheme from Wycombe District Council and is now managed solely by the Foundation offering a venue available for public hire. The asset transfer is testimony to the impact delivered within the community and the excellent relationships built with local organisations. Other partners include Buckinghamshire Council, Wycombe Youth Action, Thames Valley Police, Wycombe Muslim Communications Forum, Chiltern Rangers & Action4Youth.
The charity now delivers a diverse range of projects including:
· Supplementary schools & Adult Learning - These schools provide young Muslims & adults a secure grounding in Islamic knowledge , helping to shape their identity as British muslims. Graduates from the school have gone on to higher education, built professional careers, and returned to volunteer within their local communities.
· Public Community Library – The library serves the local community with hundreds of books checked out on a weekly basis. The Foundation is one of a few charities in the county which manages a public library.
· Youth Club – Targeted activities at youth including a weekly club and “Lockdown” designed to provide a safe and welcoming space for young people whilst also nurturing to enable them to achieve their full potential.
· Sports – Designed to tackle poor physical wellbeing in the mostly BAME local community, the Foundation delivers weekly sessions for men, women, and children in Yoga, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Archery, Swimming, Circuits, and Tae-Kwon-Do.
· Eid in the Park, Juma & Taraweeh Prayers – A relatively new project which serves the needs of thousands of local Muslims. This involves extensive liaison and planning with Buckinghamshire Council and a significant volunteer led effort on the day.
· Scouts – The scouts troop delivers weekly sessions to Scouts, Cubs, and Beavers. These are designed to raise confidence, build character, and motivate young children aged between 5-14.
· Community Grants – A grant of £250 is available to local members of the community to deliver projects which will deliver meaningful benefit. Projects in the pipeline include Girls activity club, Women’s Discussion group, solar energy project and a crochet club.
· Social & Community initiatives – Food banks, tackling social issues on inequality, drugs , domestic violence
The work of the Foundation is not limited to the above and the infrastructure has been developed to quickly react to unforeseen challenges. There is no better example than the coronavirus pandemic, where the Foundation was awarded the Proud of Bucks award for the High Wycombe area for its efforts and services provided during the lockdown.