Chadian Community in London - Refugee Council
September 23, 2009

Chadian Community in London

The Chadian Community Centre in London has been working with the Basis Project to secure funds for premises. They recently had their first success, £5,000 from Grassroots Grants.

Transcript

Sharmarke Diriye:

“My name is Sharmarke Diriye and I’m one of the Organisational Development Officers for London for the Basis Project. I started working in April of this year. That’s when I was able to contact the Chadian Community in London.”

Ahamat Hassan

“My name is Ahmed Hassan and I am chairman of Chadian Community in London which was founded to serve Chadian people who live in this country. The reason that we decided to create this organisation is that Chadian people have certain barriers to accessing public services so we believe having a refugee community group can help change their life.”

Sharmarke:

“The way the Basis Project works is that as an Organisational Development Officer I try to find out the needs of the organisation. One of the first things I was able to spot was that the organisation had been existing for almost four years without any funding at all. So I was able to prioritise funding for them.”

Ahamat:

“The activities we do include having a football club in London – we play every Saturday. We also recruit volunteers to teach children after school and on Sundays. This year we decided to make the organisation more formal because the service is needed and we cannot rely on people’s contributions. So we approached the Refugee Council and we were advised to approach the Basis Project.

“It is not easy to raise funds for a refugee organisation. It is difficult to find funders and to know how to fill in an application form and how to meet the criteria. So the Basis Project really helped us. We applied for Grassroots Grant to get office space so we could give information and advice.

“Our application was successful – actually, that’s good news. We got about £5,000. So we need to find some office space which is expensive. But this is a good start. We are looking forward to fundraising for our football activities and also to keep going with our project.

Sharmarke:

“Luckily the Chadian Community in London were able to secure funding from Grassroots Grants programme managed by the Capital Community Foundation. The funding was secured to help the organisation in two ways. One is to secure premises and secondly to support the programmes they want to run – mainly to do with information, advice and guidance on issues like social housing, welfare rights and employment programmes. The idea is to use volunteers who would be able to refer clients to specific agencies, to have a session worker and a place where people can come to get this assistance.

“When the organisation was successful in getting the funding it was amazing to see the happiness of the trustees and everyone else involved with the organisation. And also the new belief they had that they could secure funds from trusts and statutory organisations. So hopefully this will pave the way for the organisation.”

Ahamat:

“Office running costs and office space are important for the organisation to start because we have to receive letters at one house and another house and we don’t have a place people can go and see someone to get advice. The first question to us is always ‘Where are you based?’ and it’s really difficult. So I think it’s really important to have some space where people can have face-to-face interviews with service providers and also for us to have an address for the community. It’s a big step.”

Sharmarke:

“The Chadian community has a big concentration in London, but it is scattered all over London. So it will be fantastic to have a place for other Chadians to come. Although the funding is specific for people who live in Lambeth, because it’s the only legally constituted Chadian community group in the UK, you can imagine that any Chadian in London would like to come to be assisted or to give something back to the community.”

Ahamat

“The members of the Chadian Community are really happy that the Basis Project that the Basis Project support us, especially Sharmarke who did a lot of work. And now once we get the funding through, we are ready to move into the premises by the end of next week. So it’s a very good start.”