In 2019 - 20, we encountered multiple challenges including increased demands for our services, the difficult of raising enough funding to deliver the most needed services and complex high-volume cases. We have seen many people in our community in increasingly desperate situations and facing multiple challenges such as financial difficulties, employment discrimination, housing problems and mental/physical issues.
The introduction of Universal Credit impacted badly on many of our service users. They have been asked to manage their universal credit online, and most of them are not computer literate and face language barriers. As a result, many of them have been sanctioned because they could not update their Universal Credit Account.
Despite constraints on our own capacity, we are proud to have been able to help hundreds of members of our community meet these challenges. Here are some of the things we are particularly proud of:
- Information, advice and handholding support to almost 700 members of the community
- Assisted many community members to apply for or update their Universal Credit accounts
- Many families supported to resist eviction and retain their homes
- Facilitating learning, through our ESOL courses for Somali women and Homework Club for school-age children
- Walkabout events around the local area that bring together Somali families and local supporters
- Wellbeing events for Somali elders to receive health information, engage in keep-fit activities and reduce social isolation
- Professional Mentoring Project, in partnership with RBS, supporting Somali graduates to step up to a career in the financial sector.