Voice of BME Trafford (VBME-T) was set up in 2006, with an official launch on 16th February 2007. From very early days, the activities were very limited due to small funding opportunities. However, VBME-T has been playing a strategic role in Trafford since the launch.
VBME-T is managed by a 9 member Executive Group chaired by Mr N. Khan Moghal MBE and is currently assisted by 4 volunteers. The Volunteer Recruitment Programme is ongoing.
Eat Well Feel Well
This project is based on promoting healthy eating habits and selecting healthy alternatives in everyday life. This project consists of running cookery sessions in the community with help from a nutritionist and chef this was undertaken with partnership with Trafford College. The participants have been able also to complete a health and safety certified course during the project. There was much information support for food hygiene, preparation, healthy ingredients and wholesome alternatives. This has been an attractive projects to many community residents.
Look Good Feel Well
Look Good Feel Well was funded by Blu Sci has been a platform to promote awareness for screening and health checks with the help of health professionals supported by the NHS national campaigns for screenings. Health Facilitators of Trafford provided talks to the group for NHS Health Checks Awareness. Bowel and Breast Screening. Also Cancer Research UK (CRUK) delivered a session on cervical screening and the prevention of cancer. These sessions were for women only and created a safe space for them to openly discussing their fears, myths and perceptions associated with these screenings. Talks from cancer survivors were arranged which helped women to understand that reliance on screening is not a good practice; In order to convey the message in a lighthearted way, pampering and complementary beauty therapies were offered to the attendees by professional therapists to make them feel valued. The focus was on making an effort to initiate positive behaviour change towards healthy living.
Cancer Carers Project
Health & Wellbeing Project
The Project consists of:
Meetings about Health information, to share experiences and gain support, to meet with health professionals
A BME Engagement Health Group for black and minority ethnic residents at risk of, or with, heart disease, stroke and cancer to facilitate the formation of associated health Support & Advisory and Self-Help Groups in the future. This Group will provide health information at meetings, create a space for attendees to share experiences and gain support from others in similar situation as themselves, and facilitate opportunities for people to meet with health professionals. Speakers would also be invited to meetings to raise awareness of heart disease, stroke and cancer services, and the causes, signs, symptoms and prevention.
A BME Health Website for promoting health awareness to BME communities with links to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube; and podcasts with local people presenting health information on cancer, heart disease, strokes; some speaking in different languages. The website will also link to radio broadcasts on local BME radio stations giving advice about health and lifestyle modifications, advertising the visits to community groups and promoting the website.
The Project has a focus on Adult residents from the BME communities in Trafford, men and women, from local groups and organisations including the following:-
Trafford Muslim Luncheon Group
African Caribbean Care Group
Over 50’s African Caribbean Group
Youth Clubs & Projects eg; Seymour Park Youth Club & TUFC
Asian Women’s Group(ACE)
Union Street Media Arts Company
West Indian Sports & Social Club
Local Mosques, Churches and other places of worship
The Project will do this by promoting and encourage wider engagement, early intervention and the seeking of early diagnosis as well as preventative remedies and lifestyle modifications via its BME Engagement health group and BME health website.
This grant funded project was able to allow VBMET to run Health and well being sessions within the BME community of Trafford. Our focus was to improve mental health and well being via information sessions. Look Good Feel Well was the title of our Health and Well being sessions. Other organisations supported and brought their service users to attend such as Big Lives, Rethink, Health watch, Black Heath Agency, Relate, Trafford Muslim women and Ogaden centre. During the sessions we included relaxation techniques, meditation, nutritional foods, chair based exercises, discussions and more. The feedback showed that people attended had benefited and were able to make more informed choices. Also felt they were tackling stress and dealt with depression more positively, this was a good achievement of the project. We also had support from our team of volunteers. They supported with meeting arrangements, planning and the actual session support on the days of the Look Good Feel Well events.
This pilot research project was undertaken in 2011 funded by the National Cancer Action Team to find out the impact of Cancer amongst the Asian and African-Caribbean communities follow up work was undertaken in 2012. There is a distinct lack of awareness on cancer amongst this community. Also lack of cancer support awareness for families of those undergoing treartment. It was also felt that services were not always culturally appropriate or culturally aware. A theme coming out of the report on this pilot was that people felt they were not being listened to properly by their GPs. Poor relations amongst patient and GP can lead to a lack of trust which can lead to fear of attending appointments in case of rejection. When treatment had been undertaken in hospitals the Afro Caribbean community females had positive experiences during treatment, wheras Asian females felt underrepresented and felt uneasy with cultural differences of health professionals.
Cancer Outreach Project
During 2011-2012 VBME-T undertook research into the needs and issues relating to cancer patients and carers in the Asian and Caribbean communities in the Borough of Trafford. Information on issues affecting this group has been collected through a series of workshops over a 12 month period. Its findings and recommendations have been published in a Report.
Unemployment and lack of job opportunities is a major issue for this community. A business workshop was arranged in August 2012 to enable members of the community to go into self-employment or to expand their existing businesses to meet with successful entrepreneurs who can share their experiences and lesson learnt. The first workshop was delivered by Paul Bentley (CEO and founder of Intuitive Recovery). It was very successful with 32 people attending. A follow-up mentoring session was run in October where a smaller group could get more in-depth advice on their business plans from Peter. VBMET intend to run more workshops to assist BME business and enterprise initiatives, also looking at other models such as social enterprise and co-operatives.
BME Health and Wellbeing Project
A BME Health & Wellbeing Project has focused on heart disease, stroke and cancer which has higher occurrence within BME communities, specifically Asian and Caribbean communities. This Group raises awareness of lifestyle issues which contribute to these health conditions. This includes a dedicated website, outreach visits and establishing a BME Health Engagement group.
Fundraising for projects continues to be a challenge for them in this period of austerity. VBMET receive a small grant from Trafford Council to assist with running costs such as: purchase of stationery, printing, room hire for meetings etc.
“Strengthening voluntary community sector, increasing volunteering amongst BME groups, welcoming newcomers”
A regular Drop-In is an example of proactive work that directly assists the Council and Partners in “proactively responding to the local impact of the global economic downturn”. In addition, the work of VBME-T fits with key objectives within the Sustainable Community Strategy about, strengthening voluntary community sector, increasing volunteering amongst BME groups, welcoming newcomers….
Drop-In Sessions are held on Wednesday evenings after negotiating and obtaining use of meeting & kitchen space on a regular basis from Trafford Council. It was through these sessions that we met and recruited new Executive members, new volunteers and promoted the activities of the Cancer Project.
Bridging the Gap
VBME-T bridges a gap between some individuals and mainstream services. These are the individuals often referred to by service providers as ‘hard to reach’. This directly assists the Council in demonstrating that it includes those whose circumstances make them vulnerable and those who are hardest to reach or hear’. (CAA Framework document para 47, 2008).
On the board or working group of:
- BME Service Improvement partnership
- Trafford Partnership
- Trafford Mental Health Forum
- Trafford Volunteer Managers Group
- Voluntary & Community Social Enterprise Forum
- Blu Sci Grants Panel
- Trafford Council
- Intuitive Recovery
- National Cancer Action Team
- Cancer Research UK
- BME Cancer Voice
- Trafford Housing Trust
- Voluntary & Community Action Trafford
- Manchester Council for Community Relations
- National BME Cancer Alliance