A trained make up artist, actor, dancer, drama therapist and life coach Tasleen Carstairs founded Forward Facing in 2008, first as a Community Interest Company (CIC) (2009) and from 2011 as a registered charity. Her aim in setting up the charity was: ‘ to develop self-esteem, confidence and health and well-being through theatre and make-up workshops’.
Her strong vision to found an organisation that reached out to all irrespective of age, gender, cultural background and ability across Sussex was realised when she was alive and continued after her death. She was a talented networker and her passion to make lives better for those in need shone through and inspired everyone she met. She attracted sponsorship and support from major national and international corporations such as Disney, Comic Relief, Sainsbury’s and Enterprise Cars. In 2014 she was nominated for an Argus award for her services to her local community.
As well as the larger corporations, there were many local businesses who supported the annual Memory Making Day (MMD) each year. Tasleen led a group of willing volunteers who shared her vision of wanting to make the world a better place.
Events included the Memory Making Day (MMD) for seriously ill children who danced on the famous Brighton Dome stage. With the help of local hospice charities, professional choreographers, film makers, photographers, make up artists and costume stylists, Forward Facing produces a film each year to be treasured by participants, families and friends.
Tasleen also reached out to young teenagers, women in cancer wards, ran camouflage workshops, theatre make up enrichment sessions for school children at Patcham and Varndean Secondary Schools, a series self care workshops for 13/14 year old girls at the Crew Club, Whitehawk in Brighton and a programme of personal development to encourage women back to work who had been out of employment for some time. Tasleen introduced the idea of the Angel Tree hosted by Enterprise Cars and an annual Christmas Party to give special presents to children with life limiting illnesses.
The 4th Memory Making Day (MMD) in April 2014 was her last event for the charity. Tasleen became seriously ill in December 2013 but she was determined to attend the Dome event. She weaved her usual magic to make the day full of memories for everyone who attended. Tasleen died peacefully on 8 May 2014. The charity is continuing, led by her partner John, a small board of trustees and Candice Konig, who has taken on the project management of the Forward Facing schedule of events. All of us knew and loved Tasleen and know she will be thrilled that the charity that was so close to her heart is continuing.
The charity held the 5th Memory Making Day (MMD) 2015 at the Brighton Dome, two “Film Premer” events to launch the MMD videos, Pamper Days for parents of children with life limited illnesses and a number of Family Fun Days.
The annual Angel Tree party was held at Enterprise Cars’ (our key sponsor) centre in Brighton in December 2015. More events are planned for 2016.