23-year old History graduate Zakriya Mohammed started his career as a civil servant two-and-a-half years ago and currently works in the department of Business and Trade. Zak was appointed as the new Independent Chair of the Whipps Cross Redevelopment Community Forum during the summer. He is passionate about the local community and the redevelopment of Whipps Cross Hospital and is excited to be involved.
It’s great to see someone as young as you involved in making improvements in the community. What inspired you to apply for this position?
I always knew that I wanted to work in the public sector for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been interested in building the local community and being a local resident, it’s important to me that the redevelopment goes well because it is a local cause that will benefit today’s generation but also generations to come. Young people aren’t usually involved in such things and I feel it is important to have a young person on board who can contribute and help influence decisions to ensure that we are future proofing the new hospital.
What potential challenges do you think you could face?
Whilst I was studying at university I was part of the Community Engagement Action Group (CEAG) and also used to attend the community forum meetings. Initially I was worried that I may not have had enough experience, but I’m excited for what is to come and I think that not having preconceived ideas of how things should be can be beneficial. Bringing about change is not easy but when you are passionate about what you are doing, it can be done. I’ve also been working closely with Althea Bart, Community Participation Lead, who has been a great support and has helped settle me into my new role.
The forum is a platform for bringing together community engagement organisations from across the Whipps Cross catchment area. What plans do you have for the forum and what are you currently working on?
We want the forum to really help the hospital guide decision-making and get the important voice of the community heard! We are currently working on re-establishing the forum and getting the members involved in different projects and aspects of the redevelopment which I’m excited about.
We serve one of the most diverse populations. How important is diversity and inclusion to you?
Diversity and inclusion is by far the most important thing for me. I really want the Community Forum to reflect the population that Whipps Cross serves, as more often than not public proposals often miss this. We are continually looking to create a small, diverse and reflective community within the forum.
Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies?
Well I don’t think I have any super interesting talents, unfortunately. In terms of hobbies, I do like going to museums, and as I have two degrees in History I do reckon myself a bit of a boff in that sense. I am also a huge Arsenal fan, not sure if that is a talent but it is one in my eyes!