Mothers of Burngreave

27 February 2015

“Through the group, people are getting together to tell their stories, and then we work out what they want to do and how to do it.”

Somali women and young people in Burngreave, Sheffield, are joining up weekly through a local group to strengthen the community and address issues of social and cultural isolation in their area. 

By speaking with the community, local group Mothers of Burngreave found out that many people in the area felt that the different Somali generations were drifting apart. They also realised that people weren’t aware of the support or services that were available to them, including those available to young people and their families. 

With an investment of almost £19,000 from People’s Health Trust, using money raised by HealthRich through The Health Lottery, the group is now bringing the community closer together.  

"The younger Somali generation speak and write English very well, so they are sharing this knowledge with the older Somali generation at the weekly meetings.

"Similarly, the older generation are sharing oral traditions and folk lore, strengthening ties between the two.

"Through the group, people are getting together to tell their stories, and then we work out what we want to do, and how to do it." Muna

One of the ways in which the group decided to strengthen their community was through ‘Community Animateurs’ – volunteers from the group who are trained to reach out to other members of the community through various activities and information sessions.

Suzi, an Outreach Worker at the project, said: 

“We wanted to help people find out what was available to them. So after talking with local people, we set about training Somali women and young people as ‘Community Animateurs.’

"The intention is that they increase their self-confidence and belief in the ways to involve community members in sharing ideas and taking part in collective actions to improve the wellbeing of the community.

“People are now going out into the wider community to encourage more people to get involved in the group, and share their views. ‘Awood’ in Somali means ‘strength’, and many of the women in the group say that this is what they want for their community.

"Strength as a group reduces isolation and makes for a stronger community, and this is exactly what we’re working towards.” 

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