Parent organisation of Community Links, Foundation and Bridging the Gap

International Women’s Day- A Chat With Karl

International Women’s Day

This year we spoke to Karl Milner, Vice Chair for Inspire North’s Board of Trustees about International Women’s Day and the
inspirational women in his life.


Three of my heroes: inspirational women from the third sector
by Karl Milner

On International Women’s Day, I would like to take a moment to honour three exceptional women from the third sector who truly inspire me. These remarkable individuals have not only left a profound impact on me personally, but on the third sector. They embody resilience, compassion, and unwavering dedication to their causes, that so many women working in the sector bring to work every single day – putting me to shame. It is a true privilege to have crossed paths with them. I hope their stories will inspire you too.

Cas Beardmore: Inner-Strength Personified

Cas Beardmore is a force to be reckoned with. Founder of the Walk it through group, she has created a safe haven for women in Wakefield to share and support one another whilst they await treatment. Every week they get together rain or shine to walk around Thornes Park in Wakefield. Every woman is made welcome – no matter who – every single one is offered a lifeline, friendship, and someone to talk to when they are most needed.

Today, she channels her experiences into empowering others. Cas encourages individuals to take an active role in their physical and mental well-being, urging them to rise above their circumstances and embrace a positive, confident mindset to get them through the dark days with a little help from their friends.

Carin Van Doorn: The Ultimate Volunteer

Carin Van Doorn is a true embodiment of selflessness and dedication. With over 10 years of involvement in the third sector, Carin has left an indelible mark on countless lives. As a volunteer at Chain of Hope and a passionate advocate for assess to treatment for all, she has spearheaded missions to Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Aswan. Carin’s expertise goes beyond her surgical skill; she shares her knowledge with local medical teams, delivering essential training in the field of congenital and rheumatic cardiac care.

I first met Carin at Leeds Hospital and from the first moment I knew she was a special woman. Her commitment to improving healthcare systems and her strategic planning contributions have helped advance access to medicine all over the third world. Carin’s work is a testament to the power of volunteerism and the impact one individual can make in transforming communities.

Naz Kazmi: Connected to community and place.

Naz Kazmi’s unwavering dedication to her community has made her a beacon of hope in Keighley. For 30 years, she has tirelessly worked with BME women and children, most recently as the director of the Keighley Asian Women and Children’s Centre (KAWCC) helping particularly those from a South Asian background, addressing the social inequalities that persist in society.

Naz is always innovating to tackle issues ranging from health and environment to education and employment. Her collaborative approach, and ability to ride rough shod over the institutional racism which blights our institutions has resulted in lasting positive change and improved the lives of many of our region’s poorest families.

Naz’s commitment to uplifting my community is a testament to the power of women who understand the value of getting local everyday things right and the profound impact they can have on individuals and society as a whole.


For me, these extraordinary women embody the spirit of the third sector, they have championed causes, driven improvement, and inspired countless people – me included. Kudos to them all. And a happy International Women’s Day to the countless others I could have included.