A MOTHER of three who strives to “make the lives of others a little better” has won a Teesside Hero award for her dedication to helping ethnic minority women improve their fitness, wellbeing and career prospects.
Shazia Noor runs her own women-only gym Nur Fitness on Burlam Road in Middlesbrough, offering programmes for women from the Black Asian and Ethnic Minority (BAME) community.
The classes include Metafit and boot camps, and the gym has around 200 members, benefiting a wide range of ethnic minority women and spreading awareness of illnesses such as cancer, depression and diabetes.
Shazia has also developed a pilot project with Step Forward Tees Valley to help ethnic minority women get closer to employment, promoting skills such as social media use and encouraging applications for careers in the police force, with four of her members currently shortlisted for police jobs.
And she has organised numerous fundraisers for causes at home and abroad, including a successful event with former world champion boxer Amir Khan.
“Fitness has been the catalyst for everything that we do,” Shazia explained.
“You find that if you can physically fix somebody and improve their fitness, they are much more open to try new things.
“Part of the reason I started in 2012 was my mum suffered from depression. If she had access to a service like ours, maybe she wouldn’t have been as ill.
“The project was hard at times and lots of people told me to give up when we were moving to about four or five different venues, but I’m very persistent and everything has taken off since we got our own venue for the gym in January 2018.
“It’s a blessing to be able to help and empower so many fantastic local women.”
Shazia admitted she shed a tear when she received a surprise visit from Teesside Philanthropic Foundation to present her award, while she was getting ready to take a morning fitness class.
“It’s quite emotional to get something like this, because you just get on with it when you are busy trying to take a difference,” she added. “To get recognised for something you enjoy and find rewarding is really nice.”
Shazia’s school friend Lisa Preston, from Teesside Philanthropic Foundation’s patrons Hunters estate agents, nominated Shazia for her award and helped to present it.
Lisa said: “I went to school with Shazia, but it is only in recent years I’ve come to see the amazing work she does for the BAME community.
“Shazia is a very intuitive soul and instinctively knows when someone needs a little love. She is a shoulder to cry on, a confidant, an educator, a fitness instructor, a nutritionist, and a friend through difficult and challenging times.
“She is an amazing person who has made a difference to many people’s lives. Everything she does is to make the lives of others a little better.”
Shazia also received £1,000 from Teesside Philanthropic Foundation, and intends to give £500 each to a local blind school and a school for disabled children during Ramadan.
“To be able to present it during Ramadan is even more rewarding,” she added.