I am a 28-year-old British Asian female, who was born into a large working class Muslim family in Lancashire. I moved to the south of England in Slough with my family for a new start in 1996. I have always loved music and dance, so after the move, studied performing arts and theatre studies, which helped put some of my life into perspective .
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work within a range of industries and sectors most recently events management, media, security and community work.
During my work, I have created and delivered arts based projects with a range of groups and individuals including specialist work with young people, ethnic minority and excluded groups. In recent years I have delivered events that have included annual outdoor festivals aimed at increasing participation and developing skills.
I was born in Dudley near Birmingham and I was one out of seven children. My parents separated when I turned 11 and I went to live in Pakistan with my father. I was not allowed to go to school so started to read books and learnt how to read and write Urdu from the comfort of my bedroom. My father arranged my marriage when I turned 16 and that is the first time in my life when I realised the harsh realities of being a Muslim woman.
I managed to find a job working night shifts in a factory packing frozen food to earn a bit of money so that I could pay for some short IT courses and GCSEs. I worked during the nights and studied in adult training centres during the day and felt proud of myself. I got excellent GCSE results and got a job as a receptionist. My husband joined me in the UK when I was 21.
I continued with my employment, but something was not right. I felt I had two personalities, at work I was the happy, jolly, funny Rafina and at home the traditional wife always behind a cooker, cooking and cleaning and obeying my husband like a good Muslim wife. I got divorced in 2004, and moved to Berkshire to start a fresh new life with my daughter.
A miracle happened I met someone whilst I was in Kashmir who accepted me and my child not caring about any baggage or stigmas attached to us and we got married in August 2006.
In 1992, while working as an interior designer for Barratt Homes, I spotted a gap in the market for designers, like myself, who could specialise and build a business out of creating show house interiors.
I set up my own company, Designs for All Occasions in 1993 and quickly built up a substantial clientele, which includes developers, private properties, rental and serviced apartments, hotels, nursing homes and commercial premises.
I describe myself as ‘cutting edge', a trend spotter with an adventurous and exciting streak. My early influences date back to my childhood. My mother was a dress designer, so I grew up surrounded designs and fabrics of every hue and colour. My father was an art editor who had an eye for detail.
I'm Melanie Bradley and I've just moved to Caversham with my family who are : my partner, Roberto who is from north west Spain, my dog and last but by no means least my beautiful daughter Eden, who is a very characterful ten-month-old!
Along with adjusting to ‘motherhood', I am a property developer. I have been dabbling in renovating and re-selling or renting out flats and houses for the past six years. I find this line of work suits my character. While providing me with a certain amount of risk, challenge and creativity I am also lucky enough to have complete autonomy! All of which I enjoy and indeed thrive on…
Before launching myself into the volatile world of property, I spent seven years working within an equally volatile and yet rewarding industry – television production. I've worked on a wide range of subject matters but all factual including; News, Current Affairs, Consumer Programmes, covering many human interest issues, health and even a movie show and a dance fitness video!
My nature is easy going, yet tenacious and a bit inquisitive… I like to delve beneath the surface and make discoveries/connections which is probably why I initially headed for a career in the media.
My name is Martin Day, I was born in Portsmouth and I'm 26. I was homeless for 11 years of my life and have lived in a variety of places. I now live in Reading and I am very happy there.
I am current;y at college studying performance and am having a whale of a time. I get taught acting, singing and dancing. I'm not very good at the dancing but I'm getting better.