TWO Bradford mums have spoken about how their experience of a course aimed at tackling grooming and radicalisation has brought them together - and ignited a desire to fight for a more united city.

Adele Johnson, from Holme Wood, and Suffia Hussain, from Allerton, both took part in a six-week Mothers Against Radicalisation course.

Under the Prevent strategy, the programme aims to educate and support mothers in understanding the digital world, its impact and danger, and safeguarding children and young people from online grooming and radicalisation.

The pair were just two of a whole host of women who spoke passionately at an inspirational awards and celebration night for the programme at City Hall. Adele and Suffia admit they were initially reluctant about attending the programme, but have now spoken of how frank, open conversations helped to break down barriers.

Adele, 39, described it as a turning point. She said: “Going into the project, I had a mindset of ‘them and us’, they’re treat differently to us, they’re treat better than us, they get more rules set in place for them

“Going on the project, going on the journey, meeting more people, who I think are ‘them’ are actually saying the exact same as me.”

And from being in a position where she says she would never have expected to be sat in a room with Asian women, she now sees the people she has met as friends.

“What we’ve all said is ‘there is no them and us, we’re all one’,” Adele said. “We all want to work together and we all want the same. Regardless of skin colour, religion, we all want what’s best.”

From the course, she visited a mosque for the first time and is also involved with an off-shoot group called Empowering Parents, which aims to to provide a safe environment to discuss sensitive topics and to break down divides. Adele and Suffia also want to take what they’ve learnt forward under the banner of ‘United Bradford’.

Suffia, 36, said the project gave an insight into grooming and radicalisation, and how it can happen, but also opened up a way to meet people who she probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

“Myself, being a Pakistani Muslim, for me to go into Holme Wood and start talking to mums, it would never happen,” she said.

“If it wasn’t for the programme, I would not have met Adele. We’ve really clicked, we’ve realised that we’ve got so much more in common. For me, this is what it is. We don’t realise how much we’ve got in common until we’re out there talking to one another.”

She added: “I’m very strong in the view that we all need to come together as mums. We’ve got a voice that needs to be heard, we can make a difference. Putting mums together, in that environment made us realise ‘this is what community should be’.”

That empowering message was one which rippled through the awards night, as the women involved shared their personal experiences of the project and how it helped them.

For Sofia Mahmood, director at Empowering Minds, which runs the course, it was a proud moment.

She said: “We have really worked with some strong communities and had some very candid conversations and difficult conversations, where individuals have had very strong mindsets about ‘us and them’.

"Seeing those come together and not be afraid of the ‘other’ has shown me that our work has had an impact. The fact that they now want to become activists within their communities, to make sure this doesn’t happen in their communities, I feel like my job is done.”