JAN Trust has been supporting marginalised women since 1989. In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic really changed the way we had previously been working. Our face to face community support had to evolve to accommodate the new lockdown rules while also ensuring that our beneficiaries would stay safe.
The pandemic has been a challenging time for charities across the UK, but small BAME charities have been hit the hardest. Prior to the pandemic many of these charities, including JAN Trust, were working with small budgets; going into the pandemic has meant many of these small charities have had to rely on their reserve and emergency funds.
The lockdown brought a surge of issues which took a new form within small places: we saw a rise in loneliness, domestic violence, forced marriages and online harm. Despite budget cuts and a rise in demand, JAN Trust has maintained support for vulnerable women since March. We have been supporting women suffering from domestic abuse whilst providing advice and referrals to specialist services.
We have also been supporting women who are suffering with mental health struggles, especially as a result of being isolated in lockdown. To this day, we see that the issue of mental health, depression and anxiety has been particularly difficult for vulnerable elderly people who had previously been living in multigenerational households but were required to self-isolate away from their families.
Our services have included helping women meet their essential needs by providing food and medicine deliveries. We have also been translating safety guidelines and more general information about the virus for those whose first language is not English, ensuring that everyone has access to crucial information.
Our centre has had to close during the lockdown period, but we have been able to carry some of our workshops online, including our Another Way Forward programme.
Throughout the pandemic, JAN Trust is focusing on supporting and providing for BAME communities in a time where they are being disproportionately affected. This year, we saw the injustice inflicted on minority communities, Asian and especially Black communities: disproportional covid-19 deaths, no recourse to public funds creating barriers to accessing support services, and BLM events prompted by the systemic oppression of Black people in the US as well as the UK. At JAN Trust, we work every day to help vulnerable women and we are committed to continuing support to our communities, especially in the second lockdown.
If you would like to help our work, you can donate on our website.