Sheffield charity’s event to raise awareness of BAME older people’s loneliness
A leading Sheffield older persons’ charity wants to raise awareness of isolation amongst ethnically diverse communities in the city by hosting a unique knowledge sharing seminar.
Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care (SCCCC) says loneliness is a particular problem amongst black Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups, for whom language and cultural barriers exacerbate feelings of isolation already faced by older people.
Now SCCCC is hosting an event to help the rest of the city’s voluntary, health and social care sectors to better understand the issue and share knowledge from ground-breaking work it has been leading in Sheffield to tackle the problem.
Rehneesa Inez, who runs the Inclusive Community Care Project at SCCCC, said: “We already know that extreme loneliness has reached epidemic proportions in the UK, but for thousands of ethnically diverse people in Sheffield this is compounded by additional barriers.
“The charity, voluntary, health and social care sectors need to work together both to understand the barriers to services many people face in the city, and to develop creative, collaborative ways to remove them.
“We’re proud of our own work to combat the issue and look forward to sharing our learning from our work during the pandemic, as well as hearing from professionals at other charity and community organisations.”
Speakers at the virtual seminar include Shahida Siddique, CEO of Faithstar and DiverseCity Development Trust, Naureen Khan, Engagement and Quality Officer from St Luke’s Hospice and Sarah NG, chair of Sheffield Chinese Community Centre.
The event will also talk about the impact Covid-19 has had on older people and how it has further highlighted underlying inequalities - not just cultural and language barriers - faced by BAME communities.
“Although there are a lot of similarities, within BAME communities, there are also a lot of differences. By collaborating with speakers from different communities who are very knowledgeable and experienced in their field, we hope to be a city leading the way in overcoming these issues,” Rehneesa added.
One in five Sheffield residents is from a minority ethnic background. However, take-up of support for loneliness from the BAME community and engagement across the city is much lower than this.
SCCCC’s Inclusive Community Care Project is a two-year initiative paid for by the National Lottery Community Fund. It is part of the charity’s long-standing Good Neighbour Scheme, but adapted so that it is culturally sensitive and geared towards the needs of older people and volunteers from BAME backgrounds.
The virtual seminar will take place at 10am-12pm on Monday 27 September. To book a place, visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/reducing-loneliness-in-sheffields-bame-older-people-tickets-169846803361
Notes to editors:
Photo caption: SCCCC is hosting a seminar to raise awareness of isolation amongst ethnically diverse communities in the city.
Speaker biographies –
Rehneesa Inez joined SCCCC in April 2020 as the BAME Community Engagement Officer, working on the Inclusive Community Care project. Prior to working for SCCCC, she completed a BSc (Honours) in Psychology and MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience and Brain Imaging. She also undertook various community roles such as support worker, scout leader, radio show host and safeguarding representative. She is proud of her dual cultural perspective on life, being both British and Pakistani. Through working together, her aim is that we can continue to reduce the challenges, barriers and deeper underlying inequalities that are faced by older people within the ethnic minority community, in turn reducing their feelings of loneliness and making Sheffield an inclusive city.
Shahida Siddique is the CEO of Faithstar and DiverseCity Development Trust. Faithstar is a social enterprise that has the ethos and values of the VCF sector, alongside the partnerships of the public sector and the efficiency of the private sector. DiverseCity Development Trust is the charitable arm of Faithstar, set up to provide support in the area of racial and social equity for communities. They put community at the forefront of every conversation across a wide variety of thematic areas. Faithstar specialises in charitable, ecclesiastical and faith-based finance and governance.
Naureen Khan is the Engagement and Quality Officer at St Luke’s. For the last five years her primary focus has involved engaging and supporting diverse communities around palliative care and extending St Luke’s work around equality and diversity. She has 20 years’ experience working in the community and is passionate about supporting others particularly her work around languages and culture. Through her knowledge and understanding of diverse dynamics in society, Naureen became a key player throughout the pandemic, setting up groups to beat isolation, provide telephone support and food parcels for those in need.
Sarah Ng is the Chair of Sheffield Chinese Community Centre and has been involved with the organisation since its establishment in May 1995. Her main background is in Health and Mental Health Services and she worked on the first national research project on Chinese and Vietnamese Mental Health Needs in UK in the 1990’s. She then worked in London for two years as the Director of the National Chinese Healthy Living Centre, before returning to Sheffield. She has continued to support the community in her various capacities since.