Words: John Baron
A Farsley restaurant owner has gone that extra mile to support the community during the past 12 months of lockdowns and uncertainty.
Entrepreneur Zulfi Hussain, who runs Deeva Indian restaurant in Farsley Town Street, has seen his own business disrupted but has been busy supporting people who have needed help during the pandemic. He said:
“We do a lot for the community anyway but we have carried on regardless during the past year. I’ve always had this ethos of putting others ahead of myself, not because I have a lot myself, but because I know what it’s like to go without.
“People have been losing jobs and have been struggling, so as someone in the hospitality sector I have been happy to help.”
Deeva has helped deliver more than 300 food parcels to families in need during lockdown. Mr Hussain, who lives in Calverley, added:
“I didn’t want families going hungry and we had a lot of families and single parents contact us for help during lockdown as they were struggling. We also signposted them to the Pudsey Community Project and the community kitchen in Bradford.
“We’ve been struggling as a business for obvious reasons, but it’s been about showing community spirit.”
His restaurant has also supplied more than 1,000 free meals and drinks to NHS staff since the pandemic started.
Mr Hussain said:
“We wanted to support NHS staff who have been under such pressure.”
As part of a small consortium – including Bradford’s Sikh Gurdwara, Mr Hussain has helped to source 400,000 pairs of gloves, 2,000 masks and 600 face visors, which have been donated to NHS hospitals in Leeds and Bradford during the past year.
He also started a £2,000 appeal to buy a natter bench for Farsley, to help tackle isolation. He says the Farsley councillors have taken over the appeal and will provide the bench, with the money raised going towards the Friends of Hainsworth Park playground appeal.
Deeva, which was established more than 10 years ago, was thriving before the pandemic hit. Mr Hussain said the takeaway is currently open from 5pm to 10pm every day but is now looking ahead to re-opening his restaurant on 17 May.
Two of the regular charity fundraiser nights Deeva regularly ran before lockdown have already been earmarked for September and November.
Mr Hussain also took part in a West Leeds Dispatch community reporters’ training course in 2019.