Walsall BME Advice Centre was set up in July 2016 by local volunteers to provide a dedicated service to individuals from disadvantaged communities, which include black minority ethnic groups (BME), new migrants, the homeless and vulnerable individuals.
The organisation runs three projects:
‘Our World’ Women’s Support Group (funded by Walsall for All) brings women together from different cultural and faith backgrounds to socialise, learn how to live independently, take part in physical exercise and co-exist with each other peacefully. So far, 11 sessions have taken place on Thursday afternoons at Accord’s Community Engagement Centre in Pleck.
Community Kitchen Homeless Outreach aims to raise awareness about homelessness and its related issues among the community. Volunteers from different cultural and faith backgrounds run the outreach every Wednesday evening. They prepare and deliver hot meals, essentials, provide a free haircut and signpost individuals to sources of help. So far, over 460 individuals have accessed this service, with up to 80 individuals attending each week.
A Community Advice and Support Service is also offered throughout the week. This involves helping people fill out forms, offering tailored advice (such as housing, welfare benefits and employability and life skills) and signposting to services within and outside the organisation.
On Thursday 19th December 2019, over 60 people representing different community groups, attended the Christmas Celebration in Pleck. The programme was opened by two individuals who had learning disabilities and they were supported to facilitate the programme. In addition, Hillary Primary School attended to sing Christmas carols and there were several speakers and performers. The celebration enabled individuals to share their experiences of how they celebrate Christmas within their culture.
“Through our platform, we have successfully brought people together to socialise. Some have become friends, which has helped with understanding each other’s cultures and befriending.”
Sadat Hussain, representative of Walsall BME Advice Centre
Stay up to date with Walsall BME Advice Centre by going to www.facebook.com/walsallbmeadvice or contact Sadat Hussain on 07852 167 793. There are opportunities to participate in the projects as an attendee or volunteer.