Reducing isolation in areas of high deprivation
The Beormund Community Centre in Southwark runs a number of services, including vocational training for the community. For the past ten years the centre has been running a 36 week African Fashion Project for local residents.
It is a chance for women who often feel isolated, due to unemployment or cultural barriers, to socialize and make new friends.
In 2010, the charity received a £25,000 grant over two years to help pay for the tutor’s salary and running costs.
Between September 2010 and July 2011, 28 people signed up for the course, two of whom have gone on to further education and three students have established their own small dress making business.
Tutor Grace Tetteh explains: “They are learning something practical which they can use to move into further education or find employment, which makes it invaluable.
The London Borough of Southwark is one of the most deprived areas in England with an unemployment rate of 6.2 per cent, almost double the national average. Nearly half of the Borough’s population is from the minority ethnic group, and its home to the largest black African community in the country.
“Many of the people that come to the classes are women from large families with limited income. Being able to make clothes is a great way for them to save money, but the course helps them with so much more that that”.