Food & Education Enterprise CIC

07 November 2019

Coming to Great Britain as a refugee or asylum seeker can be an incredibly isolating experience. We know that creating opportunities to reduce isolation can have a big impact on health and wellbeing.

“As a refugee-led community centre we are heavily involved with Persian-speaking (Iranian/ Kurdish/Afghan) refugees in Derby. The idea for this particular project initially evolved from informal conversations. We spoke with over 300 people in our community and found they wanted to tackle isolation and other challenges through community-based activities. The Persian-speaking refugees share experiences of religious persecution. As a small community, thinly spread across Derby, our community members often live in isolation.

The aim of the project is to further break down isolation through activities run in a friendly environment and to increase community cohesion. Sessions include cooking, language and IT classes, and craft workshops. We also host multicultural events to break down feelings of intimidation and isolation in the community. Our cooking workshops have helped bring the Persian project members together with the wider community to establish friendships through cooking both Persian and British recipes.

“I feel like I am an accepted member of the community. I wouldn’t be able to do this before but thanks to this project, I have a place to mix with other people and learn more from them.”

Bushra Shah, project member

Members of the Food & Education Enterprise CIC 

One woman, an Iranian refugee, spoke little English and had no friends in the local community when she came to the UK. She met other residents with similar life experiences at our language classes and community events. The interactions with other members of the group have developed her confidence and language skills. She is now one of our active volunteers and is helping us to facilitate project workshops and activities. She has established strong links with other groups in Derby.

All of our volunteers take an active part in planning and leading the sessions, which helps build their confidence. Focus group meetings and community gatherings enable members to express their views and improve the quality of project activities.”

Ali Neghipooran, Project Secretary

Food & Education Enterprise CIC were awarded £38,479 for their ‘Derby Refugee Befriending Project', which is funded through the Trust’s Active Communities programme with money raised through Health Lottery East Midlands.


This case study was produced as part of People's Health Trust's 2019 Annual Review. To read it in full, click here.

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