I prayed, then I arrived. In 2012 I walked into Saheli Women’s Hub looking for a work opportunity. I found much more than just a job.

My name is Melissa Howitt. I grew up in Balsall Heath, so thats where my roots are. Although I do not live there any longer, Balsall Heath will always be home for me. I love the fact that I have the opportunity to work in the area. I absolutely love the rich community sprit.

My current job role is a Health and Fitness Advisor. Over the years I have done numerous training courses which have been funded by the organisation. Ongoing learning and development has always been encouraged. My main responsibilities are meet and greet, physical and practical assessments, and delivery of exercise sessions. I work across many sites, with many different people which is an absolute perk of the job. During lockdown, as a team we have faced many challenges but have still tried to reach out to the most vulnerable in our community to offer support and comfort. I take my hat off to Shebina and Naseem – against all odds they managed to pull us all together and get it done. I have a passion for my job. Being part of “the family” is my absolute pleasure.

How I arrived

I recall feeling out of my comfort zone but grounded by my faith as I opened the door and walked in. I was greeted by a beautiful, soft spoken woman who welcomed me into my new safe space. That woman’s name is Shebina Gill the Hub Manager. That’s when I unfolded and began to grow .

Family first…

I have been blessed to meet some amazing co-workers who I now call my Saheli family . I appreciate the support and patience they have had with me over the years. It has been a winding road, trying to find a work-life balance and sometimes losing the battle and having to press pause and then reset. Without the empathy, encouragement and support from my mentor (Shebina) I have to say that I probably would not have been able to come this far. Thank you my Saheli family. We had had a lot of fun along the way.

How far have I come?

I can honestly say my knowledge in my chosen field has increased. I am more confident and assertive. I am a happier and more positive woman. I have been massively inspired by many of the people I work with. I look forward to taking on new challenges and embracing new adventures.

Melissa Howitt – Health and Fitness Advisor at Saheli Hub

Melissa joined Saheli Hub in 2012