Hopscotch Asian Women's Centre is North London based charity that was established as a Save the Children project to help and support Bangladeshi women and children who had come to join their partners in the UK to settle. Now, they specialise in support, advice and advocacy for Black, Asian & Minority ethnic women and they are our Member Spotlight this month!

Hopscotch’s mission is "to enable Asian women to actively participate in society and make informed decisions that enable them to achieve their aspirations. We will do this by providing support services to Asian women and their families, raising their awareness of important issues, enhancing opportunity and influencing mainstream policy and practice."

Thank you to Benaifer Bhandari for the below insight into how Covid-19 has impacted their organisation and the women they work with.

Crisis Within A Crisis

Benaifer Bhandari – CEO Hopscotch Asian Women’s Centre

Hopscotch is a charity which supports BAME women with challenges placed in their way in the form of unemployment, poverty and domestic abuse.

We are able to run our services because, like many charities, we have a social enterprise. For us this is a Homecare contract with our local council and where we deliver care into the community.

When Covid-19 hit, our recruitment of care workers came to a standstill. Without care workers, it’s difficult to take on new packages to replace those that stop because of hospitalisation, death etc. Without new packages, our delivered hours greatly reduced and our financial bottom line was hit hard – with nearly a £18k loss of income a month for a while.

When we think about these kinds of pressures involved in running an important charity that does such great work, it’s easy to understand how the drama of Covid-19 becomes a crisis for Hopscotch and charities like us all around London.

Working with communities where the disadvantage is hidden is tough enough. To conduct outreach and keep the support flowing to service users who may not have a smart phone in their bag, or a laptop to play games on, is challenging. To create motivation to maintain women and girls’ engagement with their advocates amongst a community which is filled with fear is hard, and add to that a definite level of misinformation causing confusion and a lack of clear thinking amongst those we support makes our work very difficult.

All of this amongst an environment where we know needs are rising at quite a rate. For example, we have seen a tripling of the number of high-risk cases coming to us. It makes us wonder what our services are going through and how many we are just not reaching.

There has been some crisis funding flowing our way, which has meant we have some grace to keep going until Spring 2021, rather than now.

This means we continue our dedicated work, with the knowledge that our expertise is focused where it needs to be and women and girls are being empowered to follow their own dreams and goals.

It’s painful though to know that unless we get a huge influx of care workers, plus crisis funders who understand the need for core funding – we may not be present into next summer as we have been for decades. We will become as invisible as the very service users that Hopscotch has a reputation of reaching where no one else can.

Join us in doing everything possible to get through this crisis within a crisis so that one day every woman and girl has equality, safety and security as a Londoner.