GMB commemorates the British Muslim Heritage Centre’s union past

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GMB general secretary Gary Smith and Manchester Gorton MP Afzal Khan have unveiled a plaque at the British Muslim Heritage Centre (BMHC) in Whalley Range to commemorate the history of the building as the former GMB National College.

A grade II* listed building, the BMHC was constructed in 1840, first as The Lancashire Independent College, later the Northern Congregational College, an institute of higher education for training non-conformist Christian ministers. In 1985, the building was purchased by the General, Municipal, Boilermakers’ and Allied Trade Union, now GMB Union, to serve as a training centre for trades’ union shop stewards and labour movement activists. In 2006, the building became the new home of the British Muslim Heritage Centre.

On his visit on Friday, Gary Smith toured the building and the discussed the work of the BMHC with staff and trustees. He also formally opened Afzal Khan MP’s constituency office, which is located within the building.

Afzal Khan MP said: “As a GMB union member for over twenty-five years as well as a patron of the British Muslim Heritage Centre, it was a pleasure to welcome Gary Smith to the beautiful and unique BMHC today. Many trades unionists and Labour Party activists have fond memories of this place, and now the British Muslim Heritage Centre are continuing the proud tradition of education and outreach in Manchester that began over one hundred and eight years ago. I am fortunate enough to have my constituency office located in this amazing building and to have Gary formally open it.”

GMB general secretary Gary Smith said: “I was honoured to visit the British Muslim Heritage Centre, the former GMB National Training College, to hear about the great community outreach work they’re doing and to see the continuation of the GMB’s ethos to embrace diversity, solidarity, and be instrumental in the shaping of a cohesive society. I was also delighted to officially open Afzal Khan’s constituency office. I look forward to working with Afzal and the BMHC to strengthen ties between the GMB and the Muslim community.”

BMHC CEO Maqsood Ahmed said: “On behalf of the trustees and staff at the British Muslim Heritage Centre (BMHC), we are honoured to have Gary Smith, General Sectary of the GMB, visiting the centre today. GMB and the BMHC have many common aims in our work, focusing on fairness, inclusion and human rights. We thank the General Secretary for taking the time out to learn more about the work of the BMHC including our social education, aspiring leaders and community development programmes. We look forward to working with him and his colleagues to take forward of theses initiative in the spirit of partnership.”

Source: Union News


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