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Case Studies from the Sector: BME Suffolk Support Group (BSSG CIC)

BME Support Group is a non-profitable organisation providing practical support for Black and Minority Ethnic families and individuals in North-West Ipswich and its district, helping to achieve social integration and wellbeing. 

They’ve done some incredible work supporting people. You can read the image below, or scroll to see the full text version.

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Full text version:

BME Suffolk Support Group have been providing vital help. When one woman came to them, she was a single parent from Zimbabwe who had experienced domestic violence. She had four dependent children. Things were very difficult financially, because her ex-husband was the breadwinner of the family – and with him gone, she was left in huge debt with four children to look after. Having tested positive for Covid-19, she was also self-isolating and unable to do her job.

Luckily, the BME Suffolk Support Group were able to help. They provided her with regular food parcels and children’s clothing. They applied for LWAS for utilities’ bills (£100), household items (including a bed frame, mattress, drawer and dining set) and supermarket vouchers (£100). They provided emotional support, too, in a group setting. Meanwhile, Lighthouse Women’s Aid provided counselling. All this meant that the woman was supported as she navigated her next steps.

The Group also helped to support a couple, aged 50 and 70, from Nigeria. They’d been referred by a Pentecostal Church, and things were very difficult. The wife had been in the UK for four years and was unemployed with no digital skills. She had no idea how the UK system worked. The husband, meanwhile, had been in the UK for fifteen years, but it took him a long time to get permanent resident status in the UK. Because he hadn’t paid enough national insurance to be eligible for a pension, he was continuing to do odd jobs to survive – despite the fact that he’d reached retirement age. Struggling financially, socially isolated and unemployed, things were very hard. The BME Suffolk Support Group supported them with regular food parcels, and applied for winter fuel payment from East Suffolk Council, securing £200. The British Red Cross also awarded £240 for rent, while the wife benefitted from Radius training to learn digital skills to improve her chances of employment. Both were extremely grateful for all the help they received. They said that they hadn’t been aware of the local charitable funds available. Now they are part of the BME Suffolk Support Group, building relationships with other local members.

Coronavirus has been a tough time for everyone, and even tougher for those who lost their jobs, with no furlough and no recourse to public funds due to immigration status. The Group had lots of referrals for food parcels, clothing and more. They also overturned a Home Office decision, meaning that British children whose parents were migrant workers could now be granted welfare support. Because of this, families were prevented from being homeless. It’s an amazing result!

You can reach them on 07492691190/0147231549 or email [email protected]. Their office is 17 Tower Street Ipswich Suffolk IP1 3BE.  

Image of Funmi Akinriboya, BME Suffolk Support Group (BSSG) Founder/ Managing Director.