Hopscotch is a charity which supports BAME women to overcome challenges placed in their way, namely unemployment, poverty and domestic abuse.
We are able to run our services because, like many charities, we have a social enterprise. In our case, this is a Homecare contract with our local council, where we deliver care into the community.
When Covid-19 hit, our recruitment of care workers came to a standstill. Without care workers, it’s difficult to take on new packages to replace those that stop because of hospitalisation, death etc. Without new packages, our delivered hours greatly reduced and our financial bottom line was hit hard. To the tune of an £18,000 loss of income per month.
When we think about these kinds of pressures involved in running a charity that does such great work, it’s easy to understand how the drama of Covid-19 becomes a crisis for charities like us all around London and the country.
Working with communities where the disadvantage is hidden is tough enough.
To conduct outreach and keep the support flowing to service users who may not have a smart phone or a laptop is challenging.
To create motivation to maintain women and girls’ engagement with their advocates, amongst a community which is filled with fear, is hard.
To help a community that is often subjected to a stream of misinformation, causing confusion and a lack of clear thinking, is very difficult.
All of this takes place in an environment where we know needs are rising at quite a rate. For example, we have seen a tripling of the number of high-risk cases coming to us. It makes us wonder what our services are going through and how many we are just not reaching.
There has been some crisis funding flowing our way, which has meant that we are now facing closure by the end of the year, rather than immediately.
This means we continue our dedicated work, with the knowledge that our expertise is focused where it needs to be and women and girls are being empowered to follow their own dreams and goals.
It’s painful though to know that unless we get a huge influx of care workers, plus crisis funders who understand the need for core funding – we may not be present as we have been for decades. We will become as invisible as the very service users that Hopscotch has strived to help over the decades.
Join us in doing everything possible to get through this crisis within a crisis so that one day every woman and girl has equality, safety and security as a Londoner.
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Thank you, from all of us at Hopscotch
Benaifer Bhandari – CEO Hopscotch Asian Women’s Centre