Black Country Innovate CIC
Black Country Innovate (BCI) has worked tirelessly over the past 5 months co-ordinating and supporting the volunteer response in Walsall South. From the delivery of emergency food supplies to collecting prescriptions, our team has worked to ensure that the most vulnerable and the most needy were not neglected throughout the pandemic. BCI were privileged to assist over 500 families and individuals at the peak of the crisis.
Although the lockdown period has now been relaxed, we have found that social distancing rules and the closure of local amenities have left many individuals that we have served with depression, social isolation and other related mental health concerns. Some of our key target audiences for this programme include South-Asian, Eastern and Central European communities for whom English is a second language. We have found that they have suffered from increased levels of stress, have not always fully understood the implications of new social distancing regulations from public health and struggled with advice on childcare and unclear messaging on return to school. We recognise that BAME communities have suffered disproportionately from Covid-19 related deaths and infections with many families left distraught after losses of loved ones and are keen on addressing this crisis.
Information for volunteers
This programme will support the recovery process for many of these target communities. Our volunteer base boasts individuals from South-Asian, Central and Eastern European, Afghan and Somali backgrounds - in short every major language spoken by minority communities within this locality. We will train these individuals to offer befriending services to all of the individuals and families affected.
We seek to train and accredit 25 of our volunteers onto Level 1 Information, Advice and Guidance qualifications as well as up-skilling them with an up-to-date, Enhanced level Disclosure and Barring Service check. For those that are shielding, quarantined or recovering from Covid-19 infection our team will utilise platforms such as Zoom, Whatsapp, Microsoft teams and the good old telephone to ensure that our most vulnerable are kept connected.
If you can spare a few hours a week to support a local resident who’s feeling isolated and really could do with a friendly person to speak to please get in touch. We will provide training and on going support to all of our befrienders and ensure both befriender and client are well looked after.