In 2018, Derby West Indian Community Association was awarded a grant for a four-year project from the National Lottery Reaching Communities fund entitled “Stronger Together”. The funding created three posts; Project Manager, an Elders officer and a Children and Young people officer to develop strong working relationships with the community, local organisations and the local authority.
This project has allowed us to develop a plethora of programmes and activities for both young and old. The project was designed to promote inclusion, raise awareness and address the issues the African and Caribbean community face in Derby.
In the intervening years so far, we are pleased to say that we have delivered, through our project officers, activities for both young and old. Youth activities have equipped the young attendees with improved transferable skills and confidence. For the Elders, our events promote regular exercise as well as increasing their social networks and friendships.
Children and Young People’s Officer
Hollie has also previously worked for the organisation supporting the children and young people’s summer school programme in previous years. With almost a decades experience in teaching, Hollie is a great educator and friend to the young people and wants to inspire Derby’s future leaders.
Adam is from Ilkeston and has been the Elders Officer since July 2020. Since his arrival he has run a computer class for the elderly and has used his writing experience to write pieces for the Derby Telegraph on behalf of the organisation.
Children and Young People
The Stronger Together Project has run many classes and workshops covering Drama, Dance and Arts & Crafts. Our regular C&YP activities then moved to a virtual platform during the pandemic.
Alongside the weekly events, DWICA has also taken local children on a range of trips to experience new environments and explore potential career opportunities. The youth cohort visited a range of institutions with trips to Derby University, the Fire Service, Ripley Police Headquarters and the Derby Museum to raise their aspirations.
DWICA also worked with local training providers to provide impactful work experience placements for several of our young people. One DWICA nominee was awarded the Juniper Annual Award for the ‘Best Work Placement Experience’ From Juniper Training.
Elders’ activities are designed to promote health and wellbeing, reduce isolation, and encourage the elderly community to engage in regular exercise. We run several weekly classes such as computer class, Tai Chi and Chair Exercise which all promote attendees wellbeing and increase their social networks and friendships.
The organisation was able to continue supporting elders through the community during COVID pandemic and resulting lockdowns through the COVID Kitchen. This hot food delivery service provided Caribbean meals to the elderly and vulnerable in the community.
The core of the project believes that the community is stronger when we work together. Part of our goal was to harmonise he different generations of the community. This was achieved through our High Tea at Douglas Court Care Home. The project was created and run by young people and allowed interactions which would not usually happen. Attendees young and old swapped stories, with care home staff saying the event raised the elder’s spirits.
We have held forums and conferences across our Children and Young people, Adults and Elders cohorts to provide a platform for their views to be heard. The forums discuss key issues that impact the community.
These forum meetings have influenced the development of new projects, social policy, and research. In 2019, an Elders meeting proposed research into the adult social care system from a black Caribbean perspective, something which was eventually done in partnership with Derby University students through the Driven project in 2020.
This project has been fundamental for the strategic and logistical development of the organisation. The impact of the funding has allowed for staffing to create sustained programming across our cohorts.
Funds have allowed us to develop the organisations digital capacity and reach the community in new ways. This has been even more crucial during the health pandemic to ensure the organisation remains connected with our community. The Staff and volunteers have been able to support the community as best possible through the COVID Crisis.