I'm Rita, and I'm on your side
FAMILY & COMMUNITY
I am the daughter of a Bangladeshi immigrant who came on a work permit as a chef in Soho in 1954. My mother and siblings all arrived in the UK in March 1986 and lived in the heart of Paddington.
My primary school was challenging, as I didn't speak a word of English at that time. I soon learnt that I would need to speak for the family – filling in bureaucratic welfare / housing benefit forms - not only for my parents but also other families with similar backgrounds. This led me to my current position, for which I am grateful.
I have a strong sense of community engagement. In the 90s I married and gave birth to the first of my 4 children.
Aged 19 I got my first job in Kwik Save – followed by a second job in Iceland.
My husband is a private cab driver, and we understand the effects of poor working conditions and the value of trade unions and cooperative organisation to working people.
I was inspired to join the Labour Party by two local women - Cllr Maggie Cahill and Karen Buck (who later became our local MP).
I often assist with fundraising schemes for the party in our community – especially in helping ethnic minorities that are taking part in our campaigns.
A THRIVING CAREER
In 2003 I started work at the Beethoven Community Centre, joined the Board of Trustees of Henna Ladies, and became a spokesperson for Queen's Park Bangladeshi Association.
As a child of parents that came to the UK as part of the Windrush generation in the 1950s, I was born into a culture where independence and hard work was expected. It helped me thrive.
As bullying and racism were so common then, I want no child to have to grow up in such a toxic environment as the one I have faced. I want our community to support those who need help - especially teenagers, children, and older people.
Nowadays, Rita is currently working for the London Tigers as their Development Manager, working with children, families, and older people by:
Training for children in football and cricket
Providing Zumba classes for mothers and children
Yoga for older people
And Women's aerobics.
She helps with fundraising and organising events and workshops for the community.
Rita is also Advisor to SD Care Agency, who provide care for over 60s, Staff recruitment and contract consultancy work.
LORD MAYOR OF WESTMINSTER
My Labour Group nominated me to stand as Lord Mayor of Westminster in 2016 – when I obtained 150 public endorsements to stand for office.
The Tory majority on the council ensured their own candidate was nominated, but the pressure helped make Westminster City Council reconsider their position.
In 2019 Labour was allowed to nominate its own candidate for the first time in its history.
2022 AND BEYOND
In May 2022, after having moved to Brent, I stood as a Labour candidate to represent Kilburn Ward and won!
I look forward to representing the people in Kilburn that put their faith in me.
I am on your side!
Cllr Rita Begum