Asghar Shah (known as Shah) is a hard-working family man who lives on the Highbury estate in Cosham with his wife and two sons, who attend their local school. Shah is a longstanding employee of British Gas and a trade union member.
Shah is committed to serving his community; for example, he organised a team of volunteers in the city to provide a wide variety of help to those unable to leave their homes because of Covid. This was done with the community organisation ‘Hive’ and included shopping for groceries, collecting prescriptions and dog-walking. As a result, Shah represented Hive at the Hampshire High Sheriff Community Awards 2020 and was given the Civic Award 2020-21 for outstanding volunteering during Covid by Portsmouth City Council.
Shah has been organising a food bank through the Peace Centre for nearly two years, covering not only Cosham, but also the rest of Portsmouth and Havant. He has recruited a team of dedicated volunteers to deliver the parcels. It’s a community-based food hub not regularly financially supported by the Council, but through donations from local people and supermarkets. It serves more than 35 vulnerable families on a weekly basis; most of these are families with young children. It also supports homeless people.
Many Cosham and Wymering residents are becoming increasingly concerned about road safety in their areas. For example, the recent fatal accident on a pedestrian crossing in Cosham High Street and traffic speeding through roads on the Highbury estate, in Medina Road, and Wymering Lane. Shah feels strongly that changes need to be made by Portsmouth City Council to improve road safety in these areas and in other parts of Cosham and Wymering.
He said: “Surveys have been carried out by the Council but so far no action has been taken to reduce accidents and the risk to pedestrians. I am especially concerned about children crossing the road near schools. I believe that the Council should look at the need for a pedestrian crossing at schools in the area. The Council should also improve traffic-calming measures and install pedestrian-controlled crossings where the risk is high. If elected as your local councillor I will do all I can to ensure road safety is improved.”
Shah is currently a trustee of Highbury Community Centre and is working towards developing a more supportive and interactive community. He has started a community cafe – this is a regular get-together for young people to gain hospitality experience and for senior citizens to socialise. He also arranges regular litter-picking sessions, called ‘Go Clean, Go Green’, in the north of Portsmouth, with a volunteer team.
Shah said: “Living in Cosham and supporting a breadth of voluntary organisations provides me with a wide range of experience, knowledge and understanding of the local issues and needs of people. As a champion of community engagement, I want to use my skills and experience to benefit the residents of Cosham & Wymering and make living here good for everyone”.