BME Suffolk Support Group (BMESSG) is a non-profitable organisation providing practical support for Black and Minority Ethnic families and individuals in Northwest Ipswich and the surrounding area, by supporting them to improve their ability to adapt and integrate adequately into their local community. They adapted their services extremely quickly as the pandemic hit, running many vital projects that have been essential in helping the BME communities. The African food pantry was set up to respond to the need of their members who were unable to access food supplies – weekly food parcels have been delivered, supporting 83 vulnerable families on a regular basis. The Youth Forum – a support group for children from 8-16 years old is regularly held online via Zoom, has proved vital in supporting this age group and keeping check on their mental health during the height of lockdown. The monthly event that aims to promote Social integration, organizing Social and Educational trips, Workshops and Awareness Program has also become an online offering, with many attending and still receiving the vital information they need. The volunteers have also been working very hard to support their members via a telephone support system for welfare checks as well as any individual needs at this time of crisis, such as immigration, job seeking, housing and benefits advice, especially as many of these areas come with so much change since the pandemic hit.
We are very grateful for the funding we received from Suffolk Community Foundation during these strange times. Without these vital funds, we would not have been able to help so many families with the distribution of the vital weekly food parcels. Our members have been so happy to receive them.