Celebration and support are key to the impact achieved by the Nigerian Community in Dorset (NCD). For over 10 years, a dedicated group of volunteers meets monthly to help build community bonds through events where people can connect, socialise and share experiences.
Open to all people of Nigerian descent living in Dorset, as well as anyone who has an interest or commitment to Nigeria, the group provides mutual aid, information and support. But used to meeting face to face, when COVID-19 hit, the group had to adapt and think about how they could continue to support their members.
NCD Chairman and CAN Trustee Rupert Ogwuazor, said: “The pandemic gave us a blank canvas and a chance to see what else we could be doing. Moving on-line was a challenge. How do you continue to engage with your community? Through CAN we got involved in Trusted Voices a joint project they run with Public Health Dorset and Dorset Community Action, initially designed to share information and dispel myths around Covid-19 and vaccination. With the virus having a significant impact on the black community, this work played a vital role in sharing information.
It also connected us with other groups so we could raise awareness of other issues or support that was available. It definitely helped to keep us on a strong footing at a tricky time. Since then, through Trusted Voices we’ve been able to arrange and host on-line talks from reliable sources on diabetes, prostate cancer and mental health. There’s more work to be done about how we take this forward, but it’s impact can be lifesaving. CAN is helping us to reach our potential and we couldn’t be more grateful for their support.”
A not-for-profit and non-religious group, social events remain key with the group hosting an annual summer BBQ as well as Nigerian Independence Day and Christmas celebrations. The team also provide support for young Nigerian families coming to the area, to work, live and study, offering familiar cultural experiences through food and music where they can relax.
Rupert, said; “I enjoy being involved and look forward to our meetings because they are also a chance to catch up. We share everything, are happy and sad together, support each other, work to everyone’s strengths and help people reach their full potential.”
For more information visit Nigerian Community in Dorset.