The Afghanistan and Central Asian Association supports
vulnerable refugees and recent migrants, from Afghanistan and other parts of
the Middle East and central Asia, living in some of the most disadvantaged and
deprived areas of London to improve their wellbeing, independence, aspirations
and integration. We aim to break down language and cultural barriers and give
our community a voice and address their needs. Our work is underpinned by a
community development ethos centred on addressing individual needs and
circumstances. Although our main area of support is refugee families, our
activities are open to all as part of our long-standing integration agenda.
Although the majority of our service users are Muslim, ACAA is a secular
organisation and does not discriminate on the basis of religion or sect.
We are raising funding to help our charity with securing the ongoing rent and associated costs (such as insurance, utilities, etc) for a six week period. This building is the central hub from which we deliver family and community sports and physical activity work. This includes informal health and wellbeing activity, such as gardening and cooking as well as workshops on healthy lifestyle, more formal fitness and yoga classes, particularly female-only sessions for disadvantaged Muslim women, and community outreach sports activity with vulnerable children and young people. Of course, we cannot use the building at the moment but we are actively considering other interim options in the meantime such as online training and support.
This would provide us with some short-term support in paying for our premises. This would only cover around a third of our rental costs for the 5-month period in question but it would create breathing space whilst we look for other ways to cover rental costs. We will also use our unrestricted reserve towards unavoidable costs and we hope further emergency funding opportunities for charities affected by the impact of Covid-19 will become available.
We run the following Sports activities:
As part of our commitment to women’s development and empowerment we deliver a range of grassroots Sports activities:
• Gardening for 80+ Refugee Women at our main Feltham premises – this project promotes mental wellbeing, confidence and togetherness developing into teamwork. We have found it to be a physical activity which encourages enthusiasm and participation in more formal sport and fitness activities.
• Cooking classes once a week at our centre attended by 50 women at our main Feltham premises. These look at elements of nutrition and are helpful for the children of these women as they will eat the right food for physical activity.
• Health and wellbeing educational and promotional workshops for women around London attended by 150 vulnerable and disadvantaged women
• Female-only fitness and yoga classes for 75+ vulnerable and physically inactive Muslim women in West and South London
Activities for Vulnerable and Disadvantaged Inactive Children & young people:
• Community Football and Tennis sessions for 120 children aged between 5-15 every Friday and Sunday in Hounslow, Lewisham, Croydon and Ealing.
• We have a girls-only football project attended by 45 young girls alongside regular football sessions to encourage parents to allow their daughters to attend in Hounslow
• Cycling project funded by British Cycling supporting 70 women and young people in Hounslow, Ealing and Hillingdon
• Supplementary Schools & promotion of health and wellbeing good practice attended by 150 young people and women every Saturday across six boroughs in London.
We are using Zoom, Skype, Facetime, WhatsApp, Facebook and telephone to stay in touch with our participants during COVID-19. We are running as best we can by trying to use social media as listed above to enable beneficiaries to access support services while staff and volunteers work from home. We are shifting some of the healthy lifestyle discussion groups and live cooking classes on zoom but the majority of our Sports activities cannot be shifted in the same way. We are having to focus mainly on increased demand for advice on universal credit or support for victims of domestic abuse. Even though we are attempting to plug gaps with social media the lockdown clearly has enormous impact on our beneficiaries who were already socially isolated and the effects on mental health etc have been exacerbated.
If we do not receive funding, we will not be able
to provide sufficient resources to sustain the lease conditions (rent,
insurance, etc) of our main premises in Hounslow, west London. If we lose the premises, this will
have a significant impact on the vital services we offer to the community as
the majority of our services are run from our centre. This will directly affect
the services our beneficiaries receive and can threaten the sustainability of
ACAA. Our Fitness and community Sports activities would suffer greatly as if
the premises are lost as the majority of that work takes place there.