We're still collecting donations
On the 24th October 2022 we'd raised £65,735 with 129 supporters in 48 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.
Grassroots-Based Inclusion & Wellbeing Project We will support the wellbeing journeys of vulnerable & under-represented groups.
by Saima Afzal MBE in Blackburn, England, United Kingdom
On the 24th October 2022 we'd raised £65,735 with 129 supporters in 48 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.
Avios donated to our project will be matched by the British Airways Executive Club.
Currently, our service is run by volunteers. and some sessional workers. the more we raise, the more services and sessions we can arrange for those that need the support. We are working hard to support the most vulnerable.
Below are some illustrations of what we can deliver with every £2500 pounds worth of funds; costs are based on the assumption we use specialist volunteers to deliver our services.
Our services may be free, but they are of high quality. With each £2500, we support an average of 10 persons – this equates to 10 sessions of talking therapy per person. this is targeted and 1-2-1 support.
Alongside the 1-2-1 support, we can continue to offer group support. as such, ensuring that the most vulnerable persons have regular and sustained access to self-care beyond the 1-2-1 sessions should they wish to continue with their recovery journey with us.
For each additional £1000 per month, we can run 25 wellbeing/activity/learning/self-care group sessions.
For a further £1,000 each month, this would enable the organisation to buy more art/craft/self-care materials, cover the cost of travel and any specialist bespoke services, such as language translations and development of technology to serve our communities better.
We can benefit our existing members, widen our reach and seek to support those who, for a variety of reasons, cannot access or cannot afford to access support services.
We wish to keep growing our team of dedicated wellbeing volunteers to ensure consistency and continuation of services delivered to our users over the next 12 months. with sustained funding; we can recruit a volunteer manager, who will help ensure all our volunteers are supported, valued and trained to deliver specialist support services.
Previous fundraising efforts have enabled us to develop the team we have thus far. We wish to retain those skills and enhance and develop our volunteer skills wherever possible.
We would like to raise additional funds to develop our digital inclusion work as this helps to develop digital literacy and tackle digital poverty.
We are constantly fundraising or using our private income to support those who reach out to us. We try and raise funds in increments of at least £2500 to ensure that our targets are achievable. However, we are ambitious for our communities and will work hard to maximise our fundraising efforts and opportunities.
The more we raise we can introduce additional focused support services- so for example, in Blackburn with Darwen, where we are based, we can with £10,000 - provide financial and household bills support over a period of at least 6 months. Volunteer and specialist caseworkers can provide one-to-one support. For example, they can assist with benefits, debt management, individual grant applications, housing, and council tax support. In addition, we can help manage rent and other vital bill payments by working with local partners.
We have already fundraised a significant amount; however, require further funds to help set up face-to-face drop-in sessions focusing specifically on helping those in financial poverty, debt and associated difficulties. We can, for example, ring energy suppliers and help manage their debts, assist with translations and present cases to energy companies.
We will need to cover room hire, refreshments and specialist volunteer costs so that we can run the weekly drop-ins over a 6month period. Pay for travel, translation services, paper and other expenses. We will also need to pay for additional volunteer training as and when required, for example, completing fuel support application forms, identifying additional vulnerabilities etc. The more we raise the more we can deliver.
We reach some of the most vulnerable and have a team of committed volunteers who are prepared to do the hard work.
Thank you for supporting us!!
During the pandemic, we launched our Take A Break Project to help those struggling alone, especially women experiencing abuse. As a result of the pandemic, we moved to a virtual delivery model and our membership as a result has grown from 80 to 200.
The project allowed us to reach into the homes of women, offering chat, exercise, music and other sessions, including support with home-schooling, especially for women whose primary language is not English. By doing so, we provided a service that helped them realise that they are not alone and that should they need support or if situations in the home become unmanageable, we could offer support.
Too often, those experiencing abuse are not ready to call the Police or contact statutory services; however, they will like support to help stop the violence; the journey of realisation is a very personal one and one that requires patience.
Our project offers a much-needed helping hand, support, and, if required, crisis intervention and advocacy services. We ensure individuals and families get the correct and culturally-appropriate response from statutory agencies.
As our services expanded, the need for raising funds increased, as did the demand for our services. We recognised that many wanted to offload, chat and talk through their experiences and as such, we started to provide a talking therapy service. We also expanded our services to provide them to anyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or any other aspect of their identity.
The services we offer have been popular and regularly attended; however, demand for the services exceeds our resource capacity. In order to continue the services and meet the increased demand, we have attempted to fundraise and self-fund wherever possible. Any funding acquired will be used to assist the most minoritised individuals/communities.
Currently, we can offer free support services for those on low incomes or those who do not have access to resources. However, we know we cannot sustain free services unless we can acquire funding to cover some of our essential volunteer and project-related expenses.
Our primary focus is to support women from the most isolated, vulnerable/marginalised groups; however, we do not exclude men who are isolated, vulnerable/marginalised; we always support/refer to the appropriate local community/statutory services.
During the pandemic, we moved to a virtual/physical delivery model, and our membership grew from 80 to over 200 members. Currently, we have over 300 service users/members.
We believe our project helps Our members highlight the below reasons for retaining bespoke hybrid service provisions:
• Children/caring responsibilities-inhibits self and wellbeing activities.
• Cultural restrictions-Women in ‘controlling’ relationships and those from orthodox faith backgrounds described issues of 'stigma' that prevent them from accessing statutory services.
• Accessibility/affordability-gym membership is classed as a non-essential luxury.
• Language/communication barriers.
We provide a range of wellbeing, exercise, equality, human rights, diversity, inclusion and safeguarding support services. For example, we provided: wellbeing, counselling, and advocacy services alongside exercises such as Zumba, Bhangra, Hiit in the Blackburn with Darwen area. We aim to continue with this service and increase our face-to-face group sessions.
With additional funding, we are aiming to continue our exercise/therapy and safeguarding sessions both virtually and physically, not just in the East Lancashire area, but to the most vulnerable across the UK.
The more funds we raise, the more sessions we can fund and the more people we can target.
Additional funding will also help us to create more videos/case studies and increase our visibility as a cutting-edge inclusive organisation, led by women but for the benefit of any minoritised community.
A further £10,000 for example, will also help us to set up face-to-face drop in sessions focusing specifically on helping those in financial poverty, debt and associated difficulties. We can, for example, ring energy suppliers and help manage their debts, assist with translations and present cases to energy companies. We are already supporting with applying for crisis support. However, we need to have regular drop-ins to deal with the high level of casework we are attracting. We could run focused financial support sessions over a period of 6mths for each extra £10,000.
We know how it feels to be excluded and not 'heard' as such a huge part of our wellbeing sessions involve community engagement and connecting diverse groups to develop strong relationships, and by doing so, we make our communities stronger and happier places to live in.
Any funding acquired will be used to assist the most minoritised individuals/communities.
Currently, we can offer free integrated support services for those on low incomes or those who do not have access to resources. However, we know we cannot sustain free services unless we can acquire funding to cover some of our essential volunteer and project-related expenses.
The cost of living we know has increased for all, but the most marginalised, those already struggling will struggle even more, not just financially but emotionally. Socialisation and cutting back on activities often will be the sacrifices that people will make so that they can pay their food and energy bills. Therefore we went to ensure those that are supported not only receive an opportunity to access talking therapies, but beyond the 10 sessions, we wish for individuals to stay connected with others to ensure they maintain a sense of wellbeing by taking part in our wellbeing activity sessions.
The cost of living crisis and the widening vulnerabilities at a grassroots level means we must provide integrated and holistic support that is sustained and appropriate to the bespoke cultural and other person-centred needs.
The same principle outlined of immediate and long-term sustained recovery support applies to those that we support in coercive and controlling or other abusive relationships. We want those individuals to know they are never alone and can reach out for support whenever they feel they need it. By staying connected, accessing support becomes much easier, and we can work with the individual to stop the abuse from escalating or help refer the individual for crisis support by contacting the appropriate community or statutory organisation. We follow all best practice guidelines and have specialist knowledge in this area of work.
We provide FREE services to anyone who reaches out to us. We have a team of specialist volunteers and trainees that dedicate their spare time to supporting the most vulnerable and marginalised groups; we will work with schools, care homes or any institution or community organisation that shares our ethics and values of inclusion and valuing women and girls. Alongside dealing with supporting those in crisis, we do engage with creative and fun activities that can, in the long term, benefit our current and future generations. We also offer bespoke support for Blackburn with Darwen residents. S.A.S Rights is authorised to complete the online applications for the household support fund administered by local authorities. We help our Blackburn with Darwen members to access much-needed funds to help towards their energy bills. In addition, we can help our vulnerable users access toiletries and food support or even acquire a fridge or cooker if they do not have one. Anyone outside of Blackburn with Darwen is guided with IT support services and shown how to complete the forms via our virtual IT support sessions; these can be arranged by appointment. Currently, for some of our ad-hoc services, such as IT support, we offer an appointment-only service. We cannot arrange regular group drop-ins due to the sensitive and personal nature of the support offered., therefore one-to-one support services are needed. The latter are resource and time intensive. However, the more funds we can raise, the more we can support the most vulnerable and/or minoritised.
We are a women-led organisation; however, we offer support to anyone who reaches out to us. If we can't support those who reach out to us due to a lack of resources or the complex nature of support required, we will take reasonable steps to explain why and refer to the most appropriate service. We have been running our free services at a grassroots level since Dec 2016; our work and need for it became recognised during the pandemic and has continued to grow, despite the fact that we have been running discreet support services for over 30 years.
In the absence of other sectors' ability to meet the complex needs, we found ourselves inundated with requests for support and, as such, have responded by crowdfunding, submitting applications, and finding appropriate partners to work with at a grassroots, regional and national level.
We can help anyone who chooses to reach out to us; we don't dictate the reason that qualifies a person for support, but we let you tell us. Once we know, we can trigger a referral or offer in-house support. If we can't assist, we will let you know and explain why. Many who have reached out to us do so for some of the following reasons; help with coping with the mental health impact of the pandemic, the financial difficulties they faced, bereavement, psychological, depression, abuse, coercive control, religio-cultural restrictions, drugs, gambling, alcohol addiction and other recovery services/support.
Where there is a complex addiction and recovery need, we have links across the UK with partners who offer residential and other recovery support services; for example, via BAC-IN, for culturally bespoke support services, RGUK and Adferiad.
We recognise that some of our users with more complex needs will benefit from both the Talking Therapy and residential support services. However, we do need the support of the public and any corporate sponsors who can support us with our fundraising efforts.
Thanks to British Airways, we have been successful in acquiring a £16,000 pledge to help support some of the most minoritised women and communities, especially for addressing issues such as the taboos that prevent conversations related to addiction, mental health, stigma, abuse and more.
However, in order to successfully receive our pledge from British Airways, we do need to crowdfund and raise a further £16,000.
Please do consider donating or sharing our crowdfunder page.
We are not self-appointed experts in the issues that we mentioned above; we have Saima - the Founding/Managing Director, accompanied by Co-Directors (Emma, Johanna, Mmapula) and a team of volunteers and partners who are independently qualified and deemed experts in their specialist areas of work. We are committed to creating cohesive and informed communities whilst tackling some of the most sensitive aspects of religio-cultural dynamics that can have an adverse impact on women and any minoritised individual or group. Our work as individuals or via our community work is not just local, but we seek to influence at a regional, national and even international level.
Please email [email protected] to make a pledge in advance of our crowdfunding launch.
If you cannot afford to assist financially, please do share the funding link on our behalf or consider other fundraising activities, such as cake sales, helping us with a pamper day, volunteering your time to help fundraise, a sponsored walk, or anything realistic that you know you can do.
Thank you to those that we have already spoken with and who have committed to supporting us.
This project offers rewards in return for your donation.