Rumal and his wife Ayesha have raised their two daughters and son here and Rumal has worked in the city ever since. He’s part of the Bangladeshi community, the largest minority community in the city, but doesn’t stand for them alone, Rumal also stands for people in the wider community of Portsmouth.
As a former Director of Social Enterprise, and a Community Development Worker for Portsmouth Council Of Community Services, he’s helped people with a wide variety of problems. Rumal has a long history of community service, 14 years as a Community Volunteer Youth Worker, and says it is the work of his father that first inspired him: ‘It’s something that runs in the family. My father was a community worker for over 20 years and I grew up in a house where I saw people from all walks of life. My community work grew out of this.’
Speaking four languages, he’s currently involved in the Portsmouth Racial Equality Network Organisation (PRENO), the largest minority organisation in the south, the Ethnic Pride Project and was given a Diversity Award by the Equalities Department of Portsmouth City Council for helping people gain access to services in the city.
As a self-employed business consultant he’s given advice to people from a variety of minority groups trying to set up and run their own businesses. He’s worked as a business advisor for a regional business centre for south east Hampshire, and as a project director for a social enterprise initiative. Rumal is a champion for small businesses and his past experience of running his own local catering business in Cosham, has shown him just what sort of problems people might face.
Rumal also runs his own property business and understands the issues around letting and renting. He’s concerned about the problems of Houses in Multiple Occupation, (HMOs), springing up in the north of the city. He says: ‘It’s becoming a problem in the area. Large companies are buying up properties in unsuitable residential locations, where housing should be for families and permanent residents.They’re converting them for student renters who really need to be closer to the university.’
There are many things Rumal wants to change in our city:
‘When I stood as a council candidate in 2016, and as a parliamentary candidate in 2017, people on the doorstep told me no one was listening to them. I want to represent those people who feel they’re not listened to and make a difference. Those are the voices of the people who elect us and I think sometimes MPs and councillors forget that.’
‘Talking to residents in Nelson ward they’ve told me they are not happy with traffic noise from the motorway, that there aren’t enough bins provided for dog waste and that there’s been no public information regarding the development work in Tipner. These are everyday issues that concern people, they affect their daily lives and they’re not being addressed. It is the duty of city councillors to deal with these things, it is what they’re elected to do.’ – Rumal Khan