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Raz from Lytham’s Story - It's Not What You Think

Updated: Aug 23, 2022

Raz has his wife to thank for his involvement in the Round Table and for the huge change it has brought to his and his family’s life. She rang the local number, explained that she thought her husband might be interested in joining (said nothing to him), which led to a text message invitation and decision that has literally changed his life at pretty much every level.

Raz’s wife was worried about him, he was increasingly depressed and struggling with a range of challenges he couldn’t see past. “I had to do something, I was really worried about him, he was getting lower and lower and I just thought I have to try something.”

As a first generation immigrant from Pakistan he was experiencing a number of difficulties, racism was very common and very direct, even at work he found himself challenged. And he was without many of the normal support mechanisms that people might use to get them through. His wife and children were amazing but the rest of his family were in Pakistan and he had only one other friend who had also come from Pakistan to talk to outside his immediate home.

Raz himself says “I was the one laughing at these guys, dressed up, taking a sleigh round the streets at Christmas. I had no idea what they were all about.”

Everything changed dramatically though as Raz was introduced to the Round Table in his area. Given the invitation he decided to reach out and give it a try. You might say on the basis that he had nothing to really lose. “It was hard to walk into that room the first time, but the guys were great, so friendly and welcoming

Now he talks with huge warmth and appreciation for this group of men who have become friends and who continue to support him on a daily basis.

“There are about thirteen members in our Table, they are all friends but I’d say I’m close friends with four of them, which includes families going on trips together and knowing they are there for me no matter what. And I’m sure they know that I am there for them too” “We’ve all gone through tough times, but they were made easier because the Tablers were there for each other, there to listen but also to lend a hand in practical situations. I know this isn’t the common view of the Round Table, it’s seen as a very white organisation running Beer Festivals and Fun Runs but it is so much more. It has made an incredible difference to me and I know other Tablers feel the same - the friendship, the acceptance and the sense of belonging have been amazing and I’d encourage anyone to think about joining. It’s a brilliant social space for genuine friendship and support, it has helped me with work, encouraged me to achieve more but it also does amazing things for charity and to support our community.”

I ask about the Santa’s Sleigh, “Are you still laughing at them?”

Raz smiles broadly and admits it is one of his favourite parts of being a Round Table member and proudly explains that Helpers just used to put a Santa’s Hat on. Now Raz is involved its full costumes with him affectionately named Chief Elf.

There is a lot of laughter in our conversation but it is really clear to see that this young dad, doing everything he can to support his family and give back to his community, has faced some terrible times and that his mental health has suffered. Too many stories like this end badly, but for Raz, and thanks to his wife too, this version is so much more positive. Through connection, friendship, helping others, working in the community and being part of something bigger, everything is a whole lot better. There is a lesson there for lots of other organisations and institutions. It is in friendship, connection, laughter and understanding and working to help others we build better lives and communities

Raz also sits on the National Council of The Round Table UK & Ireland while continuing to spread positive energy and effort in his local area.

Round Table (RTBI) is a young man / men's club for those aged between 18 and 45. RTBI supports charities, the local community and its individual members through friendship and brotherhood. As part of the Round Table Family, RTBI is an inclusive organisation open to all individuals no matter their age or gender identification. To find out more visit our FAQs page or Contact Us.



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