BURY Asian Women's Centre is celebrating the success of an innovative four-year project which has also benefited men and children.

The "Inspiring Women: Empowering Communities" initiative came under the spotlight at a conference and presentation staged at Bury Town Hall's Elizabethan Suite.

Guests included the Mayor of Bury Cllr Stella Smith, councillors, service users and organisations which work with the centre.

Thanks to funding via the Big Lottery Fund's Reaching Communities programme, Bury Asian Women's Centre were able to launch the project in 2011 where the primary aim was to ensure that women improve their health and living environment, and have a real choice for their future and a great quality of life.

The conference was told that, over the past four years, the scheme has reached more than 2,000 women.

Around 1,200 accessed advice sessions, 200 received one-to-one support and another 200 benefited from group support. More than 350 women have been involved in cookery, health and exercise groups, 142 benefited from English language courses and 75 reaping the rewards from well-being courses.

Additionally, 325 people from 120 families have been involved in community clean-up programmes.

Also, around 200 men received advice or had been involved in the clean-ups, while more than 100 children have taken part in clean-ups with their schools and families.

Thanks to the project, 75 women and eight men have become volunteers, receiving training and support and delivering in excess of 2,000 volunteer hours with more than 700 women in different groups.

Ayesha Arif, director of the Bury Asian Women's Centre (BAWC), said: "More than 50 people were present at the conference which celebrated the success of our four-year project and the Mayor of Bury said a few words about the centre. Overall, the event was a big success."

The organisation, based in South Cross Street, is a registered charity which was established in 1996 and originally known as the Asian Women's Centre. It reverted to its current name in 1999.

BAWC inspires to enable women of all ages to learn new skills with a view to empowerment and improving their general health.

Its mission statement is to create new opportunities and skills through the advancement of employment, training and volunteering and to improve health and well-being by providing culturally sensitive and socially integrated services.