Blackburn with Darwen Youth Action Project

There are many reasons that lead ethnic minority women to feel low self-esteem, isolated, lonely and lacking in confidence.  Imagine living in a country where you struggle to speak the language, not knowing what benefits you are entitled to, or simply not knowing where to go for support and advice.  Blackburn with Darwen Youth Awareness Projects aims to tackle this.

Back in the summer of 2016, the B&M Communities Together fund was launched, aimed at supporting projects across Lancashire that helped to empower women, especially those of South Asian descent.  The BwD Youth Awareness Project seized this opportunity to support women in their local community.

With a 31% BME (Black and Ethnic Minority) population in Blackburn with Darwen, the highest in Lancashire, The BwD Youth Awareness Project proved why they are needed in the local community. 

After a successful application, they were able to recruit and train five youth volunteers to become Community Navigators and ambassadors to mentor a group South Asian Women from different backgrounds.

Banu; “What fantastic female Navigators, they knew exactly what we wanted in each session delivered, and the people attended shared their life experiences in modern Blackburn

With pride, the group started to spread the word, offering numeracy and literacy sessions to women of South Asian decent in the local community, though building trust proved to be the biggest challenge the group would face.

After the third week of sessions, the trust was strengthened, and word of mouth took over as the group’s most valuable communicating tool. Women, who previously would have been put off started to attend, encouraging friends and family to join them in their learning journey. 

Fatima; “I didn’t know what life skills was until my friend brought me to this session, now I like attending these session, I have also made new friends that I call my family.”

After twenty-four hugely successful sessions, lasting three hours each, the group noticed how the confidence in the women had grown phenomenally.  New friendships forged, improved numeracy and literacy skills gained and the feeling of belonging, just examples of how this project was a success.

Amina; “By attending the sessions, I have made changers in my life to improve my own self”

Moving forward, the group plan to continue with the sessions. Feedback from participants highlighted the need for financial advice for the women attending allowing them to become even more independent.

This is the embodiment of what the Community Foundation believes in, growing stronger communities together. Furthermore, we would like to say a huge THANK YOU! to the Blackburn with Darwen Youth Awareness project in helping us achieve our vision in strengthening communities. Additionally we would like to give our whole-hearted thanks to B&M for working with us to provide the opportunities for our communities.

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