The Somali population is the second largest migrant community in Bristol. Many of them live in the most deprived neighbourhoods of the city, and many undertake precarious work that is detrimental to their wellbeing and which increases the risk of Covid19. Since the start of the pandemic, the community has been more vulnerable, both to the pandemic and to wider health issues.

The pandemic has massively exposed the vulnerabilities of the community, resulting in an unexpected increase in demand for BSRC services. The BSRC team has observed an abrupt decline in community wellbeing due to unemployment, isolation, and poor mental and physical health. Some service users experienced a complete loss of income after they started shielding, due to pre-existing chronic condition such as respiratory diseases and diabetes.

BSRC staff have been working in partnership with statutory and voluntary agencies to improve health outcomes, providing telephone support and food distribution to those affected by the pandemic. Our service has stayed open throughout, with the staff providing ongoing practical support to the community.