CS 4

Servicing & empowering local communities


Case Study 4


Hibbert operates in an area which has residents from diverse ethnic backgrounds, including Asian, African and Eastern European. In the past, Hibbert worked predominantly with the Asian community, but more recently has started working with the Somali and Eastern European Communities. Last year, members of the community brought it to our attention that that there were some individuals, particularly from the Eastern European community who were struggling to afford basic necessities such as food and toiletries. Volunteers at the centre wanted to do something to help and after getting in touch with a local food bank, established that there was considerable demand and agreed to set up another food bank.


As a result of considerable demand, we set up the ‘One Community Food Bank’. As a result of distributing food to those who are living in poverty, we have learned first hand what issues are facing the Eastern European community. Over time, we have also gained their trust and have seen their frustration at being stigmatised by crime, not being able to engage with mainstream services, or have a voice in the community.


Over the years, Hibbert has helped to set up 12 grass roots organisations which deal with particular community issues and we therefore started a dialogue with a number of Eastern European people who wanted to know who they needed to approach to make their voices heard. We provided them with mentoring and other support and helped them to establish a legally constituted group in partnership with us (Hibbert Eastern European Development or HEED). As a result, we are now working with the Eastern European community and are helping them to engage with public services. We have recently helped this group to enter into a dialogue with the police, who told us at our recent stakeholder event that they had no way of engaging with this community, and more recently have been asked by Public Health to help them to consult with members of this community.


In addition to setting up the One Community Food Bank, and developing the Hibbert Eastern European Development project, we have also developed a number of volunteers. One of our volunteers on the HEED project, Myklos, is an English speaking Hungarian migrant. Myklos started out by helping us to distribute food, progressed to providing translation and advocacy for his community, and is now the chair of the Hibbert East European Development Group and recognised by the community as their representative.


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