Mrs Rambhaben Shah, aged 89, has received The Prime Minister’s Prestigious Points of Light Award.
Rambhaben, from Leicester, set up ‘Prem Yoga’ twenty years ago, giving out 32,000 free yoga lessons to keep the older Asian community healthy and to help women learn English.
She took over the operation of the Prem Group when the former Age Concern run club was in danger of being closed and decided to run the yoga classes regularly to encourage older, isolated people to take up yoga to not only for their physical wellbeing but also to reduce loneliness and build wider connections within the community. The group has since flourished, providing a space for people to come together for social activities but also gaining practical support.
Rambhaben liaised with Leicester College to offer English language classes designed to help people with daily activities such as with hospital appointments, shopping and using public transport. She also runs the ‘Asian Towers Lunch Club’ which has served over 70,000 meals to the older Asian population in Leicester.
I thank God for the opportunity to make a difference in the well-being of the elderly folks in my community and in return this provides a sense of purpose to my own life. I hope to keep serving as long as I am physically and mentally able to. I can only run these clubs thanks to the support of so many individuals, particularly staff at Leicester City Council, Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre, Leicester College and the Mayflower Methodist Church to whom I am so very grateful.