By Ellen Stafford, Community Engagement Manager, Brent Irish Advisory Service (BIAS)
We were delighted to celebrate our 45th Anniversary at the Irish Embassy this week with our members, service users, volunteers, staff and funders. BIAS was set up in 1978 as a response to the welfare needs of the Irish community, the largest immigrant community in London. Our aim is to work towards improving the quality of life and well-being of the Irish people.
Today, our main projects are our Advice Service and Active Ageing project and our newly funded Volunteer Project.
Our Advice and Advocacy project is AQS accredited and constitutes the largest part of our work. It runs two weekly drop-in sessions and one-to-one appointments throughout the week; they help clients with welfare benefits, pensions, housing issues, debt and social care assessments. We also have a very popular Active Ageing project that runs two weekly clubs for all older people living in Brent; the clubs offer dancing, Irish music, exercise classes, bingo, guest speakers and a light lunch. It is also the place where we hold our Social Prescribing pilot.
We are delighted to announce that, thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) we have launched a much-needed volunteer project.
Volunteers are important to our organization and are involved in every aspect of our work, as demand for our services continues to grow so does the need to develop new services and new volunteer opportunities. We have just launched our new Be-a—Friend service, which aims to connect volunteers with socially isolated elders who live on their own. Our coordinator will personally introduce them, and the volunteer will visit regularly, perhaps for a cup of tea, sharing some news, going for a walk, just like good friends would.
If you would like a volunteer visitor or have a couple of hours weekly/monthly to spare and would like to become a Befriender please contact: Ersilia on 0208 459 6655 or email email@example.com