Empowering, Educating and helping the Dalit and other marginalised poor in London through free Communicative English and Community Help Desk in association with Southall Community Alliance , Southall, Ealing Borough, London. This is a project awarded by Big Lottery Fund
Our Local work in Ealing Borough
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After the closure of Southall Community Alliance (SCA) Resource Centre, home for many of our community activities since 2006, we, along with many other SCA members, found ourselves without a meeting room/training facility. Rev Michael Bolley at nearby Holy Trinity Church, Southall stepped in and offered us the use of the Church Hall. An initial grant from Ealing Council For Voluntary Services (ECVS) kick started our community activities there with some work around the National Census, not only in local partnership with the Church but also collaboratively with another local group, Help Link,
Holy Trinity Church hall is situated in the Dormers Wells ward, where many of our users live. Dormers Wells is an area of high deprivation with a Super Output Area of 1216. According to the Indices of Multiple Deprivation it is one of the most deprived areas of the Borough and sits within the 10% most deprived nationally. In 2007, in some measurement domains, the ward drops below this 10%, with over half of its residents unemployed, more than 70% of its children affected by income deprivation, amongst the 5% most educationally deprived nationally and health wise and 40% of its older people (60+) affected by income deprivation.
Area concerns highlighted at the Dormers Wells Ward Forum meetings include Houses of Multiple Occupation / lack of area hygiene / litter / vermin / infestations / street spitting / homelessness / alcoholism / drugs.
A grant from BIG Lottery’s Awards For All enabled us to draw in 2 regular volunteers, one to run a Community Help Desk from SCA’s limited space in their temporary new home in the Town Hall and another to support our trainings in the Church Hall – Communication English, Health awareness and DIY self help skills training. We were also able to start Family Fellowship Suppers, where we have seen many new families and individuals coming together socially to share food, fun and games.
Most of our users have poor English Language skills and little knowledge of local area and services available. Many have recently arrived in the UK and are without family support, living in poor, overcrowded housing with unhygienic and unhealthy living conditions. So it was really good to see them coming together – overcoming isolation and forming new friendships.
The Community Help Desk continues to offer practical support for all types of enquiries - form filling, letter writing, CV preparation, signposting and advice on local area and services. We also devised a simple ‘how to’ course – writing letters, filling forms and preparing CVs. We recommend our regular users to attend. This reduces their dependency on others for help and also frees our Help Desk for others who are kept waiting.
An earlier Health Pilot had highlighted that there was much work to be continued to improve access of available health information and health services, particularly for the ever increasing number of new migrants arriving in Southall from developing countries who are unfamiliar with the local area and having very poor English Language skills. So we were very happy to conduct our ‘Health Matters’ sessions, which seem ever important with the threatened closure of Ealing Hospital, the changes in Health services and shifting emphasis on individual responsibility to maintain their own good health and that of their families. Our growing users are very interested to know about health, hygiene, serious diseases and preventative measures, diet, exercise, and ways to maintain good family health.
Our work in the Church Hall has also attracted the interest from the Church and Community Fund (CCF) who have supported a Co-ordinator for our activities and also the Church Urban Fund (CUF) who have provided us with a second Community Help Point, this one being on Church premises. This provides us with a space where our users are able to discuss more confidential or delicate matters, which they may not wish others to hear. Whilst appreciating our new community facilities in the Church Hall, as one of 100+ member organisations of Southall Community Alliance (SCA), we continue to urge Ealing Council to make new premises available for us to have a replacement Community Resource Centre.Free Communicative English,
Life Skills and Customer Service are organised to help the Dalit groups and other marginalised in the Borough of Ealing Aims for enhancing employment opportunities, providing local area knowledge and encouraging networking and voicing opinions. Generally it is to improve standards of living, equal opportunities, community cohesion and social inclusion.
The community Help Desk
This service gives people information about the local area and various service providers in terms of benefits, employments etc. It assists people of various walks of life with no one to help or to guide like the newly arrived migrants, with preparing CV's, drafting letters and filling up application forms etc. The Help Desk is also a Caste Discrimination Reporting Point.
Creation of Awareness on Caste Discrimination and its impact on International Development and Human Rights of the Victims
Networking with Affected Communities in the UK
Awareness about Discrimination in Relief and Rehabilitation during time of Gujarat Earthquake – BBC
Awareness about Discrimination in Relief and Rehabilitation during the South Asian Tsunami
Formation of VODI – UK – sending people for training etc
Renaming of VODIUK to CasteWatchUK
Lobbying to include Caste Discrimination within the Single Equality Bill
Promotion of Casteaway Arts
VODI India- tsunami, fisheries project, sponsor a child, Gujarat earthquake rehabilitation
Dalit Aid, Dalit Christian desk and Dalit development training
Dalit child education programmes
Campaigns and Advocacy
* DFID Funded Project - Promotion of Primary Education Among Dalit Children
* Training in Leadership for Social Change - Dalit