The Dignity Centre is like family

24/09/20

Paul Hutchings, our Chief Exec has just returned from a 2-week visit to the Dignity Centre in Nicosia Cyprus.

In this brief report, he explains why he was so impressed with what the team there is doing. And why we need your help now to keep it going.

COVID’S LOCKDOWN

Covid-19 has changed everything. But it has been especially tough on refugees and asylum seekers.

Not only did they see their already limited employment opportunities disappear but they were locked down in crowded, inhumane conditions. That is still a problem. I wrote here about how slum landlords are exploiting ‘Simon’ and it is shocking.

VOLUNTEERS LOCKED OUT

On top of that, Cyprus shut its borders to most countries so our brilliant Managers Paula and Laura have only had 10 international volunteers to help over the last 6 months. We expected to have about 60 so that has had a huge impact on our fundraising at a time when the need is greatest.

NOW WE HAVE VOLUNTEER MEMBERS

Of course, the team rose to the challenge and recruited 12 Centre Members to help run operations. Our Volunteer Members are now taking control of how their Centre is being managed:

EVERYONE STEPPED UP

When full lockdown was imposed in March, we immediately set up a food delivery service for the most vulnerable. We are still running a food bank for 100 people per week.

We re-opened the Dignity Centre as soon as restrictions allowed and have slowly been returning to some kind of normal.

The Sewing Cooperative, Computer and Language Classes, Bicycle distribution, Showers, Washing Machines and Table Tennis are all up and running again albeit with masks and social distancing.

IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR

All those services are vital but this is what struck me most from my visit: ‘The Dignity’ is much more than a drop-in centre. The thing that I heard again and again from our Members was that ‘The Dignity’ is like family.

It’s a place of hope and safety where people feel like they belong. Where they are given the space and support to rebuild their lives on their terms.

A very typical story is Sidolene who arrived at the Centre 6 weeks ago when she was finding life really tough. In that short time, learning to make things in the Sewing Cooperative, we have seen a huge transformation in how she is.

We are providing the conditions for people to gain their independence and rebuild their futures.

THIS FAMILY NEEDS YOU

This year, everyone has needed a little extra support but at the same time all our fundraising plans for 2020 got cancelled.

We need £12,500 a month to fund the Dignity Centre. Of the 1,500 members, over 300 visit or use one of the services every week. For many of them, it is literally their lifeline.

Can you be one of our regular donors? No amount is too small and a regular monthly donation will enable us to keep this vital service going. It is really easy to do by just clicking on this image:

Paul is always available if you would like to know more. Contact him here.

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