Reading Community Learning Centre are very grateful to The National Lottery Community Fund and the Government for awarding us £10,000 which will go towards funding the Spring 2021 term tutor and creche costs.
RCLC supports BAMER women and families who are experiencing disproportionate challenge and difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and provide services and support for them. Reading is a vibrant multi-cultural town the second most ethnically diverse in the South East outside London, and the third highest proportion of minority residents, after London and Slough. The town has a history of good community relations; however, the pace of change has been rapid in recent years and Reading’s outstanding economic success has bypassed some residents, particularly BAME women and some white working class communities. Covid 19 has further exposed some of the health and wider inequalities, with increased BAME women’s mental health support needs along with increased domestic violence, stress or anxiety during the social isolation. And the detrimental experience of racism has continued.
The Centre has created a new digital and classroom-based programme to support c.90 marginalised and isolated refugee and migrant women from BAME groups originating from c.40 countries, providing a term of free training classes, workshops, 1:1 information, advice and guidance. Most of the women speak little or no English, have limited experience outside of the home, so are often isolated and vulnerable. As unemployment is projected to further rise, the provision of language classes and mental health support at the Centre will be vital, alongside a creche. The demand for our services is increasing and changing, as we:
-Work with existing and new learners in more resource-intensive ways e.g. by providing face to face classes in very small groups alongside online classes
-Have 18-24 learners on the waiting list for each language class – Provide additional telephone support to 30 learners where the pandemic has increased their mental health support needs along with domestic abuse
-Are playing an increased local information, advice and signposting role, linking women into local partner organisations and services.
Thank you National Lottery Community Fund and the Government for enabling us to continue our work supporting BAMER Women in Reading.