We are thrilled to announce that RCLC has been awarded a 2 year grant from the Garfiled Weston Foundation. RCLC will receive £15, 000 per year over 2 years towards the shortfall for the running costs of our Centre i.e. rent, utilities, staff and volunteer costs since these are the areas we most struggle to fund.
This will enable women from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds in the Reading area to achieve their individual potential. The women we support are migrants or refugees, the majority of whom speak little or no English, and often have limited experience outside of the home. Some of the women we support are amongst the most isolated, deprived, and vulnerable in our community.
This grant could not have come at a better time as our waiting lists and demand for our services increase due to the centre’s closure in March following the national lockdown, smaller class sizes and social distancing. The social distancing has also resulted in increased levels of loneliness and mental health issues for many of our users.
Covid 19 has further exposed some of the health and wider inequalities that persist in our society. The virus itself has had a disproportionate impact on certain sections of the population, including those living in most deprived neighbourhoods, people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. There is emerging evidence that the pandemic has increased BAME women’s mental health support needs along with increased domestic abuse. Just under four in ten (36%) adults in Britain reported that during the coronavirus crisis and lockdown they have experienced an increase in stress or anxiety. Two in ten (21%) said that they have been finding lockdown difficult to cope with, while 14% said that social isolation was making ‘relationships at home more difficult than usual’. This last figure rose to one in five (19%) for BME groups. A recent Red Cross Report identifies that following lockdown the situation has worsened for BAME people. Runnymede Trust report that in their survey over a third of BAME people (36%) have experienced an increase in stress or anxiety during the coronavirus crisis, with one out of five struggling with social isolation. And the detrimental experience of racism has continued to be a strong theme throughout this pandemic, with Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Black African, Black Caribbean and Chinese groups reporting either an increase in racial attacks or abuse, or ‘being treated unfairly because of their ethnicity’, since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
The staff, volunteers and the many women we support each year are very grateful to the Garfield Weston Foundation for their support