Walking past an inviting shop window led Steve to volunteer with It’s All About Culture (IACC), a Boscombe based community-led organisation using multicultural food, arts and music events to showcase and celebrate diversity and improve community cohesion.
“I was brought up in the Church and it instilled me with a desire to do things for others and serve the community. Volunteering has played a part throughout my life and I’ve been involved in a whole range of roles from school mentoring programmes and motivational speaking to youth club football coaching and helping at a Salvation Army charity shop.
We had family connections in Boscombe, so decided to move from London and really fell in love with the place. It’s a great location, with a rich history, fantastic buildings and a strong sense of community – there’s a lot to celebrate.
Boscombe has a lot of gaps in services which people fall through. IACC was set up in 2013 to help the community come together, build social inclusion and improve people’s well-being. We want to be everywhere everyone isn’t. The environment we create is different. It’s a welcoming, safe and happy place, where people aren’t judged and can be themselves. If no one will talk to you, come sit with us, feel safe, looked after and part of the community.
We share the love by hosting regular pop-up café Socials on Tuesdays and Fridays, a fortnightly craft group, a regular Boscombe Neighbourhood Policing drop-in and much more. I help at the café socials with food preparation and clearing up. People play board games, read or chat whilst having something hot to eat. At the Friday Pepperpot Socials we share Caribbean food, which is really popular.
I also support the Men’s group which runs on a Tuesday and is a chance to chat. Men can often find themselves isolated. What started as something quite casual has become a place to feel safe, open-up and get support through things like addiction or becoming homeless.
IACC also supports groups to host events sharing their culture, craft, food and music with the wider community – the most recent were from Indian and Brazilian communities.
Currently we’re based at the Sovereign Centre in Boscombe, but are in danger of losing our space. It’s a worrying time as so many vulnerable people depend on us – we don’t want to let them down. Charmaine, who runs IACC is working to try and find a solution. CAN is helping and supporting us through its networks, but if anyone can help either with a new location, or space we can share, please get in touch.
Whatever happens IACC will still need volunteers. The joy of volunteering is that it’s fun at the same time as giving you transferable skills and knowledge. People imagine it takes up too much time, but you can do as much or as little as you want. Do something you like, feel part of the team and the rewards you get are way better than money. Give it a go, you’ve got nothing to lose and the world to gain.”
To volunteer, or for more information about IACC email: firstname.lastname@example.org or T: 07761 756363.