During the last two years of the COVID-19 crisis, BSC Multicultural Services (BSCMS) played a proactive role in supporting some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Ipswich and Suffolk, especially those from the ethnic minority communities including refugees and asylum-seekers. Some of its work and activities during this difficult and challenging period included the following:
- Prepared and distributed 100s of emergency food parcels to local individuals and families.
- Established a Hardship Fund with the support of Suffolk Community Foundation to help individuals and families that were struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than £20,000 have been distributed.
- Prepared and distributed 100s of winter and special packs for the homeless in Ipswich (consisting of blankets, socks, gloves, hot water bottles, tea, coffee, toothpaste, etc) and other vulnerable people.
- Through the Support Services, BSCMS continued to help and support 100s of clients via telephone and limited numbers of urgent face-to-face appointments from our office in 19 Tower Street. This was done in a COVID-secure way to protect staff and clients alike.
- More than 150 hot meals were distributed to the homeless in Ipswich in partnership with Ipswich Soup Kitchen. This was really appreciated by the recipients after a long period of being offered only cold food.
- 100s of health and wellbeing, sanitary and dry food packs were also distributed to local individuals and families, in addition to stationery packs to children to help them with their learning and school work. Around £5000 worth of vouchers were distributed to families with children to help them cope during the repeated lockdowns and thereafter.
- More than 700 BME people were offered vaccinations, thanks to proactive outreach undertaken by BSCMS in the ethnic minority communities.
- BME Befriending Scheme, Supplementary School, Carers and other project’s continued to support children, elderly and other clients via telephone or participation in other appropriate activities, etc.
In recognition of its outstanding contribution and achievements during this unique and unprecedented period, the High Sheriff of Suffolk offered BSCMS ‘The Suffolk Award’. More recently, BSCMS has been nominated for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is a huge honour for this small but very active local charity. Mr Boshor Ali, Chair of BSCMS, thanked all management committee members, staff and volunteers for their dedication, commitment and selflessness.
Mr Ali said, “BSC Multicultural Services is now approaching its 24th birthday and in April 2023 we will reach a huge milestone, a quarter of a century! We have achieved so much during this remarkable period. As one of the founders of BSCMS, it has been an honour and privilege for me to serve as its Chair and see the charity carry out so much good work, despite many ups and downs.”
“This fantastic journey”, he added, “would not have been possible without the wonderful and talented team we have at BSCMS! We hope to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this organisation next year! I want to thank Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk Community Foundation, Lottery Community Fund, Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG, Henry Smith Charity and Suffolk County Council, among others, for their continued support.”
Mr Mahbub Alam, Treasurer of BSCMS, said, “Many of our colleagues took a calculated risk to help others during the repeated lockdowns and distributed 100s of emergency food packs at a time when other charity’s and organisations were not sure how to respond to the unprecedented emergency we faced at the time.”
He added, “Well done to the BSCMS team for rallying around and supporting our most disadvantaged and vulnerable clients during a very difficult time for everyone. Keep up the good work.”