As with many BME organisations without any paid staff, we struggle to maintain a presence, attend meetings and work with other organisations, Councils and Government agencies as well as deliver all our services to BME communities. This is because we have to rely entirely on the generosity and kindness of our teams of volunteers and our supporters who provide their time and resources in order that we can achieve so much. Despite this, we have succeeded in continuing to help promote the interests of smaller BME organisations and help defend the statutary rights of all in the BME communities.
It was a therefore much appreciated by all, when, in 2020 (in the midst of our trying to function during the Covid pandemic), our hard work over the many years of our existence was officially recognised and we were presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This prestigious national Award stands equivalent to an MBE in the voluntary sector and we are proud to put Weston-super-Mare on the map as we are apparently the only voluntary organisation in our sector and in our geographic area to ever receive such a high honour.
We are a long-established voluntary organisation that has been running for more than thirteen years. In 2015 we established our Community Interest Organisation as a Registered Charity.
Our main aims include:-
- Promote social, education and economic inclusion
- Promote equality of opportunity
- Promote good race relations between people of different racial groups
- Commitment to equality
- Promote integration & cohesion
- Disseminate information
- Signpost and refer BME people to essential services
- Combat isolation
- Celebrate and share different cultures
Activities. Although our office is based in Weston-super-Mare we cover, support and promote BME Communities across all North Somerset. We help with a range of issues, including:-
Immigration; social integration; isolation; housing; poverty; employment; finances; bank accounts; Foodbank; social care; carers; police matters; discrimination; racial harassment; domestic abuse; honour-based violence risks; physical and mental health; and even the consequences and effects of Brexit on individuals and their families. From addressing social and legal injustices to skills training and empowerment and celebrations at our cultural events; from providing English lessons to marginalised groups to fellowship at our regular Wellbeing Cafe, we seek to provide a safety-net for all BME individuals as well as help to give a voice to the many smaller BME organisations in North Somerset.
Partners. We have helped develop projects and mutual collaborations with different statutory and non-statutory organisations, including :-
North Somerset Council, Weston-super-Mare Town Council, Bristol City Council, NHS, Citizens Advice North Somerset, Voluntary Action North Somerset and Bristol Law Centre, Weston College
Funding. We continue to provide support and give a voice to the BME Community, with very imited resources. At various times, we have been fortunate in receiving financial support from various organisations, including:-
Quartet Community Foundation, South West Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the National Lottery, Rotary Club of Weston-Super-Mare, Pappadoms of Weston-super-Mare and Lions International.
Our Trustees for the period 2020-2021 are as follows:-
Cllr. Ray Armstrong
Carmela Bianco de Kellaway
Dr. Mike Kellaway-Marriott
Imam Saydur Shamim
We are grateful for the support of…
Our Patron, the Deputy Lieutenant Denis Burn; Johnnie Halliday, High Sheriff of Somerset; John Penrose, Esq, MP; the Town Mayors of Weston-super-Mare, the present Mayor, Councillor Mark Canniford;
our volunteers and supporters, especially:-
Terence Brady, Ron Green, Tomoko Harris, Julie Knowles, Graham Li, Aspasia Papadelli, Justyna Pecus, Miriam Robertson, Patty Pereira Taylor, Suresh Teli;
…and all our past and present Trustees.