10 November 2020
Huge support for physical launch of Ubuntu Multicultural Centre CIC in Middlesbrough after COVID-19 Setback
Ubuntu Multicultural Centre CIC has been supporting the local BAME community in Middlesbrough throughout the Covid-19 pandemic since its launch in February earlier this year, despite lacking a physical centre. The team is now seeking funding and community engagement to open its venue, having established overwhelming support and genuine need for a physical space after surveying the community.
A community engagement survey, co-produced with Civil Society Consulting CIC (CSC) under their ‘Steps to Sustainability’ initiative, established a clear need for a physical centre. Ubuntu were introduced to CSC by local infrastructure organisation Together Middlesbrough & Cleveland.
Out of nearly 80 survey responses, over half of respondents attributed 10 to the importance of an accessible Multicultural Centre in the community (on a scale of 1 to 10). 65% of respondents said they would use the centre at least once a week, confirming a regular and engaged user-base for the centre.
The survey was designed to collect important information about the community. The most in-demand services were general information and guidance, immigration advice, and a community cafe. Feelings of isolation and sometimes loneliness was the most common issue that respondents wanted support with, along with feelings of exclusion. Equipped with this information, Ubuntu will be well-placed to foster the community and provide much-needed advice and guidance.
The Ubuntu Community Centre CIC Community Engagement Report consolidates the survey results to demonstrate need and community backing, specifically aimed at funders and local partners. As part of the report, CSC have developed a series of recommendations informed by outcomes of the survey to guide the Centre, as well as the local infrastructure organisations and authority bodies that will contribute to its success. Read the report here.
John Kabuye, founder of Ubuntu Multicultural Centre commented:
“The survey results reinforced exactly what we thought the needs are in Middlesbrough. These are the communities that are yearning for a physical space to call home, and I am happy that our centre’s services will be underpinned by understanding and sympathy. As we know, our communities have gone through a lot of challenges and difficulties, what they need now is a culturally contextualised service to empower them and subsequently lead to community cohesion.
We will work tirelessly with all our energy, and maximising our capabilities, to make the recommendations of this report a reality. Once again thank you Civil Society Consulting for producing this report.”
About Ubuntu Multicultural Centre CIC
Since its founding earlier this year, Ubuntu Multicultural Centre CIC has demonstrated dedication in supporting the Middlesbrough community by providing shopping services for shielding families, advice and befriending over phone and video, and interpreting official COVID-19 guidance. Middlesbrough has some of the highest income and employment deprivations in the country; widening health inequality has also afflicted the region with the highest mortality COVID-19 mortality rate. Ubuntu Multicultural Centre aims to address these issues with the the following recommendations for the new centre, including:
- Consultations and workshops for advice and guidance on immigration, employability, housing, finance, and accessing local services
- Setting up a community cafe for locals to socialise and make friends
- Provide long-term activities and courses to build confidence and skills for navigating life
About Civil Society Consulting
Civil Society Consulting CIC is a non-profit that serves the voluntary, community, and social enterprise (VCSE) sector. To support vulnerable communities during the lockdown, CIC offered shared expert advice and offered one-to-one free consultations with charities and faith groups. The ‘Steps to Sustainability’ initiative emerged from these pilot consultations with a focus on BAME organisations and social action leaders who are struggling the most through this period. ‘Steps to Sustainability’ provides consultations and follow-up support to build confidence and capacity. This model for social impact in BAME communities is being scaled up with TNL Community Fund funding and partnership with Strengthening Faith Institutions. The community engagement survey in collaboration with Ubuntu Multicultural Centre was the first output of this initiative. Over the next six months, Civil Society Consulting will support 60 BAME-led social action groups under ‘Steps to Sustainability’.