Breaking Boundaries in Birmingham With Smart Women CIC

Breaking Boundaries is a three-year programme (2018 –2021) funded by Spirit of 2012, supported by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and The Institute of Community Cohesion (Icoco).

It aims to socially connect young people, their families and communities together through regular cricket engagement, fostering mutual respect and friendships by playing, spectating and volunteering.  It is being delivered in 5 cities; Bradford, Birmingham, London (Barking and Dagenham), Manchester and Slough.

Breaking Boundaries places communities and young people are at the heart of the programme, Smart Women CIC is a partner community organisation for Breaking Boundaries, based in the city of Birmingham.

We wanted to shed light into how key community organisations such as Smart Women CIC are working incredibly hard to support the local population amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Speaking to their Director Rubina, we gained a better insight into the amazing work she and the organisation our Community Champions work with have done to support and keep the community connected during this unsettling time: 

1) How are you managing to continue to connect and support your community? 

We provide food/ shopping/ medicine/ other essentials for 35 families and provide this support and resource specifically for isolated women.

With domestic abuse on the rise and serious concerns for women overall we have been going out of our way to ensure that we safeguard this vulnerable group.

We also translate government key messages into various languages that the community members can thereby gain understanding as to how they may best protect themselves in the pandemic in line with government guidelines. 

We provide Safety equipment such as gloves and masks to venerable women, children and families.

Our priority right now is to ensure that these vulnerable groups are sufficiently supported during this turbulent time.

We have increased our volunteers across a large number of areas in Birmingham, because we have more demand for our services to support the community at this time.

2) How have your services had to change as a result of the pandemic?

We have been extremely busy supporting her community, we have been supporting over 50 women and families with a wide range of issues related to the pandemic.

Smart Women CIC is acting as the link /liaison between authorises and the community for issues such as:
• Price inflation at small shops
• Islamic funeral arrangements
• PPE for key workers
• Bills and benefits
• Antisocial behaviour
• Free school meal vouchers
• Health concerns

With support from volunteers Smart Women CIC are also:
• Creating publications on the local stats and figures to debunk myths and ease fear-mongering. Also exploring ways to combat the language barriers to make sure the community are informed to navigate this pandemic safely.
• Supporting the vulnerable access key services such as food and medicine
• Providing 25 women with food
• Order 2000 pieces of PPE for key workers in the community

3) What creative ways or ideas do they have to keep people connected that they may not be doing currently?

We have created a WhatsApp group to alleviate any feelings of isolation that may be stirred through social distancing. This is an incredibly difficult time for the community and we really feel this is a time for social connection to be kept alive as much as possible.

Projects like Breaking Boundaries are really key to keep the community sentiment and morale up with engagement.
The podcasts, quizzes and engagement really help in people feeling like they are still part of the wider community even amidst this period of lockdown.
Community organisations are doing a lot of fantastic work at the minute and can be used as a resource to support yourself or anyone you feel may require such services. 
To contact Smart Women CIC call: 0121 772 7533