Introduction

The project’s aim is to address inequalities and support communities across West of Scotland, so that they are enabled to engage and participate in civic society and act as a voice and a champion of their community. Through capacity building activities, we will ensure that the community members’ partiction isipa recognised, and community cohesion is increased.

Aims of Project

  • Address the underrepresentation of minority ethnic women across Public and Voluntary Sector platforms

  • Create a platform for dialogue, skills development and raise awareness of the democratic process, encouraging minority ethnic women to engage in civic society (civic participation)

  • Establish a collective voice from disadvantaged communities with additional barriers of falling under multiple protected characteristics (intersectionality).

  • Support public, voluntary and community organisations across urban and rural areas to better address inequalities within their own service provision.

Target Communities

Our project works on following themes across the West of Scotland  focusing on Glasgow, North and South Lanarkshire:

  • Public, private, third sector voluntary and community based organisations across the West of Scotland.

  • Community based organisations include both private and voluntary organisations.

  • Diverse minority ethnic women in the West of Scotland

The Minority Ethnic Women’s Participatory Project (MEWPP) is recruiting new members. This is a chance for minority ethnic women to join the project to gain awareness on Civic Participation and more.

Anyone wishing to join can contact jhassan@wsrec.co.uk or call 07448623867 for more details.

Current Work

  • Minority ethnic women are supported to participate, engage with services and civic society, thereby opportunities to participate in democratic processes and civic life

  • Recruiting new MEWPP members from all walks of life and levels of education

  • Minority ethnic women are developed to contribute to the formation and design of the ‘Minority Ethnic Womens Participation Project’ (MEWPP).

  • Minority Ethnic women are enabled to recognise processes to participate effectively with public services and civic life through ongoing participation in MEWPP

  • Providing capacity building programme tailored to members’ interests and skills

  • Empowering MEWPP members to cascade their learning to other minority ethnic women

Minority Ethnic Women’s COVID-19 Stories

When the news broke that there would be an imminent lockdown due to COVID-19, a group of local ladies decided we needed to set up a team of volunteers to help. First, we assessed the most pressing needs of the people in the community to know what and where to channel our support. With individual precautions taken regarding Coronavirus safety guidelines, we reached out for donations and we managed to raise some money. One of the volunteer-lady spent most of her day sourcing emergency supplies like pasta, rice, flour, toilet paper, and other items.

As a group, we decided to seek out single parents and families who could not go out for shopping due to having kids at home in isolation, we identify a family and assess how we are able to help. We also discovered that some people who lived alone were also vulnerable, not only in obtaining food but also needed someone to talk to.

There was a lady who was allegedly showing signs of having the virus, we supported her to contact the hospital regarding her condition and later arranged amongst ourselves to call her at different times to check on her as she suffers from anxiety.

During this time, another team member identified a lady who due to loneliness was going through stress, our team member would contact her via telephone every day talking to her and also taking homemade food to this lady’s door.

In addition, other single-parent families were identified, who due to asylum status, had no income so we managed to take a few bags of groceries to them. They have been so grateful for the continuous gesture.

As words spread about our group, we were contacted by a couple who were both on zero-hour contracts and were unable to get benefits. They had run out of credit for their electricity and food supplies were low, so we managed to send them a small amount of money via their account to help them until benefits start coming in.

When we started this group, we thought it would be about helping the community with shopping but it has become bigger than what was anticipated. We have become befrienders, shoppers, assistants, and a source of support to the community.

I hope and pray that if and when this nightmare is over we can continue to connect with our local community.

– RK

#QuarantineStories  #HelpingHands  #LivingEquality  #MEWPP-WSREC  #CovidSheroes

As it is difficult during this challenging time of the lockdown, I can’t do much. Although, I have been asking a new neighbour who moved next door to me if he needs anything and I will try to take food to him.

Also, the next door to my neighbour is an older woman who would ask me to help her with some purchases. I am also doing my best, calling friends to know if they need anything as I will help with the buying and only get it to their front door.

During this isolation period, I have also been going into Marks and Spencer on Argyle Street to purchase foods and I see how empty the streets are. I have been feeding the birds there as not a lot of people are going out to feed them. The pigeons are just as hungry.

I have used the opportunity of being in MEWPP to look for where my little gesture can make an impact. And I am grateful to be able to play my role quietly.

– NS

#QuarantineStories  #HelpingHands  #LivingEquality  #MEWPP-WSREC  #CovidSheroes

A couple in our community attended a family wedding in Spain, days after their return, they realised they may have contracted Coronavirus. When I came to know about this information, I phoned the wife; she sounded extremely unwell and told me that they both have a high temperature and cough that have lasted six days. She added that it was hard to get hold of a doctor as she was feeling very weak and her husband’s condition was worse.

Knowing that I am in the vulnerable category and having been advised not to go out, I decided to help after observing necessary precautions by taking some cooked food and other necessities to the couple to support them. At their home, I left the items at the door then made a call to the wife to encourage her that they must eat and drink lots of water.

I kept contact every few hours and I was glad to hear that the wife had no more temperature although her cough remained pretty bad. On that day, her husband’s condition got worse and their family doctor arranged for her to take her husband to the local hospital. When I later called her, she was sitting in the car while the medical staff took her husband inside the hospital. After a while, she was advised to go home.

As she was now all alone in her home and still feeling unwell, I kept checking on her regarding the news from the hospital. Her husband was confirmed to have COVID-19 and he passed away in the hospital three days later.

While I was supporting the couple, I imagined a worst-case scenario regarding burial procedures. With all the fake news in the community, I became worried about the funeral that may not be in line with their religious practice.

With the information given and support of the next-of-kin to the deceased, we contacted the Health Care Department, after phone calls and exchange of e-mails over forty-eight hours, I got a copy of the guidelines on Coronavirus deceased burial that had just come out from the government. I also consulted with the Head of the Chaplaincy and prepared a briefing on this specific community burial. I sent the guidelines to the community group members informing them that burial is still allowed. There was a huge relief to the group and when they responded to my information through social media platforms, they seemed extremely relieved from their worries in this regard.

However, the family had to be helped in the speedy burial of the deceased as this was also their religious requirement. 

I contacted the hospital for the medical certificate with the release of the body, followed by the local council registration office. I was also able to get the death certificate through electronic means within a few hours. A scanned copy of the death certificate was sent to the council’s Cemetery Department on the same day.

Following this process, the funeral took place the next day at about 1pm. He was buried according to Islamic rites and his immediate family members were present at the graveyard. The family was relieved as they had feared otherwise.

It has been two weeks now and I still keep in touch with the wife; in fact, we have become good friends and I think we will be friends forever. I feel so good that I made a difference to some people as my COVID-19 story provided relief to families within my community.

All the efforts I made to assist this family was born out of my own way of showing support, empathy, and encouragement to them in their low moment. The confidence I had was through my experience in Living Equality (MEWPP) project, which has helped me to always think of how to play a positive role for the benefit of the community.

– BI

#QuarantineStories  #HelpingHands  #LivingEquality  #MEWPP-WSREC  #CovidSheroes

When the Coronavirus lockdown started, as a family, we discussed the situation, checked on our relatives and friends if they needed any help. We then moved to check with a few of our elderly neighbours if they need food and other essentials.

A lovely elderly couple known to us were not doing very well, their dietary requirements were different and it was hard for them to get their various foods. We made the effort and got food delivered to their door. This gesture is still on-going Alhamdulillah.

Another lady was so worried because her doctors postponed her cancer treatment. She said; “I am going to die”. When I heard her say this, I talked to her to calm her down. She felt better afterward.

She reached out to me again saying “you are a lifesaver”. These kinds of small deeds make you happy and content. Even with others as well!

Stay safe everyone and pray for each other.

Love u all for the sake of Allah s.w.t ❤  

– SR

#QuarantineStories  #HelpingHands  #LivingEquality  #MEWPP-WSREC  #CovidSheroes

When the Covid-19 situation started, I got in touch with all my single friends who live alone to check if they are well and also to offer them support. I wanted to know if they need help especially if they wanted me to buy food for them when I’m out.

Also, I volunteer for Possilpoint Community Center and I have been translating free food advertisements for them for those who can’t read English.

I thought it is important to provide this support especially to those isolated and don’t have any support from society.

– ME

#QuarantineStories  #HelpingHands  #LivingEquality  #MEWPP-WSREC  #CovidSheroes

I had a chance to look into myself to see where I am. Thanks to almighty Allah for technology, through it I have been able to run my classes. I am also sending donations abroad to families who are in dire need to buy food packages and also give as relief food support.

I have also kept this Covid-19 time for keeping in touch with all my family and friends. I also have more time to listen to some Ulamas (religious sermons).

I thank Allah that He gave me time to repent and make myself better inshallah.

– HG

#QuarantineStories  #HelpingHands  #LivingEquality  #MEWPP-WSREC  #CovidSheroes

In my neighbourhood, we keep in touch via a WhatsApp group created for residents of our street. We try to keep an eye open for each other and we try to help if anyone is in need.  Someone’s daughter that I know in the neighbourhood passed away leaving behind three young children with their grandmother. I got across to them and helped out with their shopping, which I left at the gate. The grandmother came out to pick up the items and we chatted a bit to know if everything was going on well.

In addition, I have also been donating food to the food bank. My granddaughter got a £20(Twenty pound) voucher from school which I used to buy groceries for a single parent who I know from the school.

I have also had the opportunity to be on a Pakistani News Channel to speak about the preventive measures and safety guidelines on the COVID 19 Pandemic. I spoke in Urdu to enable the viewers to have a full understanding of what the Coronavirus precautions are about. I never knew the media sessions I attended with MEWPP will come in handy so soon.

The media sessions I have attended with MEWPP encouraged me to be able to grant the interview after having gone through many presentations and media sessions with the group. It enabled me to prepare myself ahead of time.

 It’s a very difficult time for everyone and a test from almighty Allah.  I see this challenging time as a period of reflection, especially in our lives. I also think we should reflect on how to make our lives better by being good Muslims for humanity’s sake.

-RH

#QuarantineStories  #HelpingHands  #LivingEquality  #MEWPP-WSREC  #CovidSheroes

When the lockdown was announced, I immediately went into self- isolation with my family as I’m a carer for my son.

In my community, I try to offer help to my neighbours when I know they are in need. I have also been keeping in touch with my family and friends to know how well they are keeping in this challenging time of COVID-19.

The stay-at-home guidelines have helped families to bond more. It has helped to reconnect and appreciate each other. It is also a reminder that every single blessing we have in our life e.g health, nature, plants, trees, blooming flowers with beautiful colours, birds singing, our family, friends, neighbours,  are things we all take for granted.

I thank the MEWPP project for giving me the confidence to be able to reach out to others. Caring for my son has enabled me to think of others in this desperate time too.

-RK

#QuarantineStories  #HelpingHands  #LivingEquality  #MEWPP-WSREC  #CovidSheroes

When Coronavirus was declared a pandemic, global crisis, and a national emergency, it was hard to comprehend how a virus could get this big in a relatively short space of time. We had other countries showing examples of what would happen if we didn’t go into complete lockdown. The images from Italy and Spain were heartbreaking and having family in Italy and being in contact with them, we knew that it was only too real.

The lockdown made me feel anxious, I’m not sure why. It’s hardly as if I am out all the time anyway but I suppose it is human nature to feel rebellious against something once we are restricted from it.

Schools are closed, WSREC is closed and the only way to stay safe was to stay at home! I restricted food shopping to two times-a-week and went for a walk every second day to stay sane.

I used my time at home to reflect, read, pray, and look after my family. My older sons are both key workers, one in healthcare and the other in Engineering. They could not work from home so we took other measures, such as not using public transport and having extra sanitizers with them.

My husband’s business was also allowed to remain open as per government guidelines. I made it a duty to keep in touch with a few women who live alone and are socially isolated, speaking with them over the phone every few days and sometimes dropping off food for iftaar(breaking of fast).

I have also been donating to foodbanks as I know only too well working in the third sector that people need support now more than ever.

I make donations to charities. I also send money to Pakistan, where lockdown is also in place, and many people are daily wage labourers with no welfare system available to them. These workers have families to cater for and suddenly have no source of income. An orphanage in dire need, in the country, also benefit from our donations.

As unprecedented as the time is, I never expected to be offered a job during the pandemic when most jobs are under threat. I was contacted as my profile and skills on a CV I had submitted matched the requirements of those of key workers that were urgently needed. I am currently working as an operator within an Emergency Services provider.

I have now completed my two-week initial training which was quite challenging and now working for all emergency inquiries and those related to Coronavirus cases as well.

My younger boys have hardly left the house since schools closed, thank God for game consoles and electronic devices! Everyone is fasting so I really have my hands full.

Times like this teach us to be patient, resilient, and adapt to what is happening. It is also a period to be grateful for the present and to never take anything for granted as Covid-19 has shown that situation could change in a blink of an eye – things we considered normal all our lives at the moment seems like a distant memory.

I look forward to the day I can meet physically with my family and friends as the current restriction only permits electronic form of communication i.e telephoning and video calling. I am sorry for all the families who have lost loved ones and I pray that Allah gives them sabr.

I’d like to say to my fellow MEWPP ladies to stay positive, stay safe, and do your bit; even a small act of kindness or charity can make a world of difference to someone.

-RK

#QuarantineStories  #HelpingHands  #LivingEquality  #MEWPP-WSREC  #CovidSheroes

I had to leave Glasgow for Taiwan earlier than planned due to the rapid outbreak of COVID-19. I had to take a flight to London Heathrow and waited anxiously as the flight back to Taiwan could possibly be canceled.

My family was worried about me, and my safety. To prevent myself from getting a viral infection with anyone, I wore a face mask all the time, except for eating and I was extremely cautious during the whole trip.

When I arrived in Taiwan, I was immediately taken to a hotel specialised for self-isolation, as this is the policy in Taiwan, with anyone coming back from Europe. I wasn’t allowed to have any contact with anyone, and can’t step out of the room, only to stick my arm to reach for three meals prepared for me daily.

However, I was taken to hospital for complete quarantine shortly afterward as there was a confirmed case sitting close to me in the flight. I was monitored by nurses and doctors every day, taking my blood pressure, oxygen level, and body temperature three times a day.

After 14 days, I was allowed to go home, still not suggested to go out. Personally, I tried to build up the habit of doing yoga for 30 minutes every day. In my own little effort, I kept away and I made it a duty to contact friends and families to know how well and safe they are keeping during this time. I still wear a face mask whenever I go out and avoid crowded places.

As a MEWPP member, doing the responsible thing as an individual is important. Taking initiatives to do what is helpful should always come to mind especially in this Coronavirus period where one person can infect many more persons if safety measures are not taken into consideration. Although, Taiwan is very strict about the prevention and spread of COVID-19.

– MFC

#QuarantineStories  #HelpingHands  #LivingEquality  #MEWPP-WSREC  #CovidSheroes

Additional Information

The MEWPP project gives you the opportunity to develop your skills and become part of the wider society.

Do you want to learn how to get actively involved in activities relating to common good at local, national and global level? The project is recruiting new members to join the team.

The time commitment and benefits:

  • Skills necessary for being an effective communicator

  • In-house training session (4-6 yearly)

  • Certificate of Achievement

  • Updates on ongoing information

To join the group, send us a message at either biqbal@wsrec.co.uk or jhassan@wsrec.co.uk, or call us on 0141 337 6626.

Some of Our Previous Work

To achieve the project objectives we have a number of streams of work as follow:

Equality Response Forum (ERF)

During 2015/2016 the Living Equality project formed the equality response forum (ERF). The ERF comprised of 8 community experts and academics that were initially recruited and supported to respond to requests received from public sector organisations on public sector equality duty (PSED). Some of the activities of the forum in relation to PSED were, engaging with diverse communities, research and training on different equality strands. The formation of ERF provided opportunities to individuals across all protected characteristics in the form of capacity building. The ERF members received training on how support could be provided to voluntary sector and community organisations. This training focused on how organisations could enhance their equality planning process and service delivery. The above services are currently offered by the project staff.

Equality Impact Assessment (EIA)

An equality impact assessment (EqIA) is a process that warrants fair and non discriminatory practices considering the needs of disadvantaged or vulnerable people. After initial capacity building, the ERF members created an ‘Impact Assessment Template’ and the Scottish Government asked to use the template.

The purpose of the template was to have an established structure when responding to Equality Impact Assessment documents. The above service is currently offered by the project staff.

Support organisations in embedding equality practices

The project assisted community, private and social enterprises in their procurement processes (selling or obtaining service) in relation to diversity and equality. These organisations were supported to become ‘equalities aware’, which we hope will increase diversity, equality in the procurement of services and achieve high standards. The above service is currently offered by the project staff.

Equality Act 2010 Community Guide

In 2015/2016 the ERF has developed a community guide with contributions and feedback from diverse communities and community organisations. The aim of the guide is to facilitate community organisations to consider equality, diversity issues in their service provision, and also understand the value of equality. The guide has been used by a number of community organisations as a point of reference within their equality practices since its publication in December 2015. The guide also contains a checklist which is a equality assessment tool. The guide can be accessed from the link below.

Equality Act 2010 Community Guide

Testimonials from Current MEWPP Members

I gained so much confidence through MEWPP capacity building activities that I joined a newly formed [community] group and agreed to serve as Secretary. I also shadowed a WSREC staff member … I found it so rewarding that I am now going to join one of the inter-generational projects in Glasgow…
Anonymous
I gained so much confidence through MEWPP capacity building activities that I joined a newly formed [community] group and agreed to serve as Secretary. I also shadowed a WSREC staff member … I found it so rewarding that I am now going to join one of the inter-generational projects in Glasgow…
Anonymous
Self-awareness training gave me the chance to re-examine myself and reflect on the mistakes I’ve made. I’m currently trying to act more confident and speak for myself when dealing with people that I used to be very passive to. By doing so … I find more happiness a bit more day-by-day.
Anonymous
Corporate Procurement Strategy 2016 Response by ERF

Funded By

Project Staff

Mrs. Bushra Iqbal MBE
Mrs. Bushra Iqbal MBEDevelopment Officer
Jamilah Hassan
Jamilah HassanProject Support Worker