Alafia provides a pro-active outreach advice and guidance service for some of the most hard to reach families in Reading. Acre’s Family Support Team works with BME families caring for children between ages 0-25 with disabilities or additional needs.
- Provide advice and guidance on a variety of issues, including but not exclusive: Housing, Benefits, Special Educational Needs Provision, Crisis Disability Grants, UK education, and welfare landscape
- Reduce health inequality by encouraging Healthy Lifestyles including reducing Obesity, and promoting exercise and BME high risk health issues (diabetes, prostate cancer, bowel cancer screening)
- Provide short breaks for children and opportunities for parents to meet other Carers from the same cultural and linguistic backgrounds to offer peer support. This reduces disability stigma and social isolation
- Empower families to meet and mix across different cultural backgrounds
Promoting community cohesion requires constant engagement, with the aim of bringing together people from different backgrounds to celebrate the different cultures in Reading. We create opportunities for people to meet and understand each other’s communities with whom they share a common space – Reading. We also facilitate public education by hosting ordinary general meetings on topical issues.
Alafia’s community engagement see outreach visits promoting the Alafia service regularly throughout the year to Children’s Centres, Family Link Support Group, Parenting Special Children, and mainstream schools. We attend public events across faiths and cultures, liaising with community leaders to achieve our aims. By utilising a pro-active and persistent outreach approach, going to the places where hard to reach families, most in need of support, may be seeking support we:
- Effectively utilise resources to target the most in need
- Promote Safeguarding and de-stigmatisation of disabled children in communities in which faith based and cultural beliefs may put them at risk
Acre works with a range of organisations representing the nine protected strands as defined by the Equality Act 2010 (age, disability, gender/sex, marriage/civil partnership, maternity and pregnancy, race, religion and belief, sexual orientation, and trans-gender/gender re-assignment). To this end Acre has developed the Equalities Alliance with a participatory membership of 41 equality support organisations. The work programme for the Equalities Alliance includes the following:
- The establishment of a Hate Crime Forum
- Implementation of a programme to foster collaboration & cohesion
- Coordinate a programme to respond to myths & stereotypes on equality & community
- Spearhead a campaign on FGM and other “hidden issues”
- Organise annual Equalities Alliance Conference & integrated Hate Crime Vigil
It is believed that there are in excess of 170,000 women and girls living with FGM in the UK. Children born to women with FGM are at risk of being cut themselves. FGM is usually carried out on girls between infancy and aged 15. For those that undergo FGM, the physical and psychological consequences are often devastating and lifelong. FGM has been a criminal offence in the UK since 1985. There have been a number of calls for better service provision for those living with consequences of FGM. Acre’s work on FGM is designed to inform and advise potential practicing communities of the consequences of the practice, and to empower the survivors. Acre set out to initially:
- Undertake a concerted programme of engagement with affected communities to build relationships
- FGM awareness campaign
- Develop a network of anti-FGM advocates
- Galvanise activities leading to the development of a strategic multi-agency body
- Further to develop a Reading Rose Clinic – a one-stop centre that will deal with FGM related issues.
The Alliance for Cohesion and Racial Equality (acre) in Reading has started an advice service to members of the public, in response to many enquiries in the field of immigration and from the knowledge of people seeking immigration advice from family and friends with no legal background, leading to inaccurate or misleading immigration advice. With a significant rise in the demand for legal advice and advocacy support in different areas of litigation from the community in Reading, Acre’s Legal Office will focus on two specific areas of advocacy:
- Employment Law.