£40,000 lottery boost for Telford charity's pandemic work

A Telford charity has attracted a £40,000 lottery partnership grant to help struggling residents cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Amelia Smith and Elina Dumitia at Telford's Community Empowerment In Action
Amelia Smith and Elina Dumitia at Telford's Community Empowerment In Action

Community Empowerment in Action (CEIA) successfully bid for the grant from the government's Coronavirus Community Support Fund from the National Lottery Community Fund for the group's Aap Ka Saath (Together As One) project.

The money is being used to operate an emergency helpline for residents to get help when they have difficulty making contact with councils and agencies, and delivering essential items including personal protective equipment (PPE) if required.

CEIA, based in Wellington, was set up two decades ago in response to a lack of facilities for black and minority ethnic (BAME) families, and successfully set up a number of self-operating health-related projects including launching cricket and volleyball teams.

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The operators said its services are available to the entire community and it distributes leaflets in English Polish, Urdu, Punjabi to reflect the make up of the community.

Project manager Nazmin Akhtar explained: "We have done a lot of work towards setting up the helpline and taking requests.

"We have been delivering medication, PPE and we have also been spending a lot of time simply explaining to people what Covid is all about and why their lives have changed in the past nine months.

"A lot of people can speak little or no English at all, which has been a big issue in during the pandemic and especially if people have no support.

"As we know that black and Asian people have the highest rate of mortality due to the virus and these are some of the issues we're trying to address. Many places of worship are currently closed so some people have not got mosques, churches or gurdwaras to fall back on.

"We are providing a specific service and we want to tell people that if you need help we are here, but we are also here for the whole community and will not turn anyone away.

"But it is vital that people phone us if they need help, particularly if they're struggling to access council services."

Contact the helpline on 01952 257010 Mondays to Fridays 9am-5pm or 07894 062825 at other times.

In addition, the service based in Vineyard Road, Wellington, distributed food parcels and education packs to 65 families over five days during half-term.

It has also recruited 96 volunteers including out of work taxi drivers who have been helping with deliveries.

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