The African Community Centre
The African Community Centre (ACC) in Swansea provides specialist counselling support among a number of cultural projects and wellbeing initiatives delivered across Wales. It received funding from BAWSO, a women’s organisation distributing grants in Wales, as part of the National Emergencies Trust’s partnership with Comic Relief.
The funding enabled ACC to respond to a significant and now persistent increase in referrals of support for Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) individuals, particularly asylum seekers and refugees, resulting from the financial, social and psychological impact of COVID-19 and accompanying lockdowns.
The trauma and despair of BAME clients has been greatly worsened by the added risk of infection and difficulties around social distancing, strained family relations, and loss of income and support. ACC is now better resourced and equipped, and is seeking to exceed the number of funded clients in order to respond to individuals in extreme crisis.
An additional counsellor has been employed, together with a part-time administrator, to ensure the most efficient and effective use of professional paid and voluntary resources.
The funding has also enabled ACC to more readily connect with and signpost clients to statutory and voluntary complimentary services. The connectivity of effort across agencies has improved noticeably in response to the pressure and ACC is able to play a full part in the orchestration of counselling services.
Funding has enabled ACC to learn, record, and share early experiences and lessons from responding to the psychological needs of BAME individuals emerging as a result of the pandemic. These will be used to shape support in the remaining months.