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Omar Ali has lived in Maindee since he was 10 years old. He volunteered and worked at Community House as a Link Worker during the 1990s. Interviewed by Marilyn Priday.

Omar became involved in youth work and was mentored by Brian Selby, a founder member of Community House. In this extract, he explains to Marilyn Priday how his work acted as a bridge within the Asian communities.

Marilyn asked if the Asian boys saw it as a problem coming into the House which was a Christian place. Omar said it was lucky that people like himself and others were seen as having a legitimacy within their communities to do this type of work. They were respected and had good connections with local mosques like Harrow Road. They also had boys in the club “who local youths could relate to.”

“We acted like a bridge between community house, the church and the wider Muslim community in the area”. They realised the building had a Christian church element, but they saw the community elements and the people who ran it as being more important than the actual building.

Omar goes on to explain that it was easier because Community House was working with people who had a ‘legitimacy in the community’ and could relate to the young people and ‘act as a bridge to Community House’. He comments on the fact that although the community recognised the Church element, they always saw the ‘community’ part as being greater. ‘More important than the building and the church were the people’.

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