Have you ever had one of those ‘light bulb moments’ where you think of a really great idea, but you’re not sure how to make it happen? What if you could make that idea a reality, not just for you, but for a community perhaps?
Pria Bhabra, Commissioning Officer for MAP tells us more about the project helping empower migrant community leaders take action to address issues that their communities were facing.
It was identified that migrant community networkers were facing barriers when applying for funding such as language, written communication, lack of proven track record and competition with larger and more established organisations. The Bright Ideas project helps to support and develop confidence to engage with services and other community groups which is important in breaking down barriers.
Applicants submitted five minute videos to present their ideas in their own way so the barrier of written communication was removed. They then became judges and peer review sessions were held where small groups scored each other’s video applications. The judging process helped people reflect on what is required for funding bids and how in the future they would increase their chances of securing funding.
20 out of the 40 applicants were successful. Topics included mental health, health and wellbeing, domestic violence, housing and employment. Here’s an example of just a couple:
Mohammed Abdalla from the Sudanese community identified the five top issues that people in his community asked questions about. These were around the Home Office, Housing, Employment, Education and Health. Support needed to come from within a community setting where specialists can attend and provide answers and advice and so it was proposed to hold a number of sessions centered around each issue identified. This will help people to be better informed. There will be minimum of 40 people per session and other communities will also be invited to attend. The sessions will be provided for free but the one on immigration will need to be paid for. Mohammed already has links to services and his community to make it a success. He will evaluate at the end and will be supported by Leeds Refugee Forum.
A lady from the Somali Women’s group aims to focus on
health promotion for Somali women and encourage them to access health care; in particular around routine cervical screening and female genital mutilation awareness. She aims to support 25 women and feels this will be successful as the sessions will be held in their own language. Somali women lack the knowledge and trust in local services so supporting them and encouraging them to attend appointments is important. The women are very private and the sessions will have to be dealt with sensitively. It will be evaluated by how many women access health services and if this made a difference to their lives. Support will come from Leeds Refugee Forum.
There are currently other great migrant projects already up and running across Leeds. One of these is the Syrian Kitchen run by a group of Syrian volunteers. It’s open to all in Leeds every Monday between 11.30am and 1.30pm at Ebor Gardens Community Centre, Hazelwood View, Leeds, LS9 7PS.
The Syrian Kitchen project provides a focal point for the community where people can seek advice and help they need whilst enjoying affordable traditional Syrian food.
For £5 you can enjoy a delicious main dish with desert and a cup of tea or soft drink. Senior citizens can enjoy this opportunity for free. Other activities include fitness classes and a work-club to help the locals in job searches.
Fawaz who works at the kitchen is meeting new Syrian refugees every day, some of which have been directed to him via the local mosque. Lots of people are interested in finding out about Syrian refugees and how they can help and Fawaz wants to share their news in the best way he can. He is keen to start engaging people and getting them involved to help with their mental health and focus on healthy activities and well-being. Fawaz is now aware of services he can connect with for support. He said the local communities are supportive and it’s a multi-cultural and harmonious environment.
If you wish to find out more about any of these projects please email Pria Bhabra at firstname.lastname@example.org