Case Studies

Case Studies

Health & Wellbeing Project

Mrs K is aged 68 years and a migrant from Bangladesh having come to Luton in 1979, She was diagnosed with diabetes in 2015 and started looking for help and support with her condition.  She came to the Health & Well-being Club and she enjoys the weekly exercise and socialising.  Her husband died in 2020 due to Covid and she lives alone as her children are living away from Luton.  The Club gives her a friendship group who she looks forward to coming each week as well as regular    motivation to exercise.  “Coming to the Club each Monday is a highlight of the week for me.  For most of the week I’m at home on my own with only the TV for company.  The Club not only gives me an hour of   exercise, but I get to chat and laugh with   other members.  The exercise tutor gives us ideas and tips for exercise at home as well which is helpful.”

Mr P is a widow who has been attending the Club since his wife died 1 year ago.  Initially he was   reluctant to engage with anyone he did not already know.  Slowly his confidence grew and he started chatting to others in the club and making new friends.  He is a very good chess player and enjoys playing with other members and this helped him to break down his shyness with others.  He asked if he could help as a volunteer and started volunteering helping serve the food, set out tables and chairs and recently become a    befriender.  “I get a lot from the club; I’ve made many new friends and the talks and workshops we do are very informative and at a level we can understand.  I really enjoy giving something back by volunteering and this has given me a real sense of purpose that I look forward to each week.”

Children & Young People Project

Child A: a 10-year-old, had an enriching three-week experience at the Summer Scheme. During this time, she participated in workshops on building healthy relationships and  staying safe in the community, gaining valuable life skills. The program also included exciting trips to Kempston Outdoor Centre, Thorpe Park, and go-karting, which allowed Child A to explore new activities and build confidence.

Through engaging discussions and activities, she learned about the importance of   communication, trust, and empathy in forming meaningful connections with peers and adults. Child A particularly enjoyed participating in the escape room, where she had to collaboratively solve a problem, reinforcing the significance of teamwork. “I never thought I could shoot arrows or paddle a canoe, but I did! And the rides at Thorpe Park, wow! Go-karting felt like being in a real race. It’s like I discovered a whole new world of fun!”

Child C: a 16-year-old initially known for his reserved nature, embarked on a great journey of personal growth through his volunteer experience at the Holiday Play-Scheme. At the outset, during volunteer training, Child C was reserved and  hesitant. However, as the week progressed, he found his place within the group, forming meaningful     connections with fellow volunteers. The bonds he forged during this training not only boosted his confidence but also demonstrated the     importance of teamwork and support within the community. “I came in quiet, but I left with friends and a newfound belief in myself. It was amazing how we all grew together during the training week.”

The second week of the program saw Child C stepping into a leadership role, where he surprised everyone, including himself, with his natural ability to lead sports activities. With guidance from program staff, he blossomed into a confident leader, gaining the respect and admiration of his peers and younger participants. However, it was the exhilarating Go Ape trip in the third week that ignited Child C’s passion for adventure and personal development. This experience not only broadened his horizons but also inspired him to continue his involvement with organisation, where he now dedicates his time to mentoring younger members of the CYCD youth club, passing on the values of resilience and confidence that he himself had gained.

“Conquering those treetop challenges at Go Ape taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to. Now, I’m helping others realise their potential too. It’s a journey I’m proud to be on.”

Child D: Child C is one of our regular service users who comes only weekly youth club. This was the first Play-Scheme she had attended and was very excited about all the activities that were planned. Initially it was noticed that she was only interacting with the other young people that usually come to the youth club and was hesitant in completing group activities with new individuals. However, through the group activities, she became more familiar with other people and at the end of the first day she was happily playing with all the young people in the play-scheme. She had mentioned that initially she just felt nervous but the    icebreaker activities had helped her to feel comfortable. Child D enjoyed the codebreaker game and took the lead, she explained it to her team the rules as she had previously played a codebreaker game in the youth club and together, they were the first team that was able to decipher the code.

Child E: Child D was a child in foster care and did not have much experience of mixing with South-Asian children. He was confident in talking to staff but got very nervous when encouraged to sit and talk with the other young people. Child E’s past experiences was that staying out of the way of other young people would keep him out of trouble this was the only way he would be liked by adults. With support from staff & volunteer Child E was helped to see the value of making friends; they supported him to participate with others and Child E had a positive attitude to activities. He began to interact better and spent time discussing different ideas with other young people. As the days went on staff observed Child D was more relaxed, confident and talked to the new friends he made. He started to learn the value of friendships.

YP F has developed her skills and showcased this during an open day event at CYCD. She was able to showcase distance travelled as she was very shy and unable to talk to anyone within the group but is now confident in using her acquired customer service skills through serving her colleagues. She confidently stood behind the counter and took and order and made a sandwich for the customer. She was well aware of health and safety aspects and made eye contact while taking the order. She then worked out change from a £5 note. Counting out the coins with help as well. This real experience has improved her ability and confidence level and she has shown an eagerness and readiness to serve with a smile. It was really great to witness her journey and culmination of helping out at events. Our workshops, training and activities for young people has improved life skills and this is a clear example of money    management, confidence building and real-life experience.

Women’s Empowerment Project

Women A: “I first got involved about four years ago, it was after the birth of my daughter. I was going through a breakup and had experienced domestic abuse.  Mentally and emotionally, I was alone. I was practically homeless, had nowhere to go. My parents were able to take me in but they weren’t able to support me for long because of Covid and they were going through a tough time themselves. I couldn’t even afford to buy food for my daughter.

There was nowhere I could physically go. I wasn’t able to go in to work, I wasn’t able to get support from work. There was nothing available.

Finding something for the Asian community was not easy. I eventually found Yasmin (Project Lead at the WOWS project) and that was a godsend. I found the group at the time I needed it most.

Care packages were the first form of support I got and they went such a long way with me, I can’t even explain to you. Sometimes I used to feel guilty for receiving them because I thought someone else could be, and sometimes I’d donate something back to the food bank because I felt guilty. But they were so needed at the time.

The woman that dropped off the care package was from the Women’s  Empowerment group. She’d spend five minutes talking with me which meant more to me than the care package. It was so important for me. She was brilliant. Having a conversation and then having Yasmin call me up to chat over the phone was vital to my wellbeing at the time. It was support that I needed at the most important time of my life.

At first even I wasn’t sure to expect but when I got to one of the sessions and realised its purpose and the support women could provide one another, I realised that this is exactly what this community needs.

After Covid there were the coffee mornings, the maternity focus groups, the children’s play groups, and that was amazing. I got to take my daughter to play with other kids. Trying to get day-care was expensive and to be able to take my daughter there was so important, not just for her but for me as well. I met other parents and I still speak to a few of the mums I met at those groups, the same age as me.

It wasn’t just focused on the things that you need, it helped support women to come together in different ways. I attended English language classes even though my      English is good as it is. But it was a space to drop off kids and help other women who needed support and I was able to provide that by helping with the English lesson. I know a lot of women outside of the English language sessions now too. At first there were language barriers, but we got over them and it didn’t matter if we spoke the same language or not because we were all going through the same thing.

We meet at a community centre and the sessions weren’t specifically advertised as domestic abuse support groups or places for women to speak on specific issues.      Because of that, I felt comfortable walking in there and bringing my child to play nearby. When you walk in somewhere that provides specific support for domestic abuse it can be overwhelming because everyone knows why you’re there and there can be a sense of shame. I work on the other side of it, I’ve seen women badly affected and I think of all the women who need support more than me. Actually, what makes me feel comfortable is this secluded environment where we can talk about what’s happening to us honestly and freely without a label or feeling shame.

That’s why groups like this are so needed in the South Asian community, among South Asian women, because discussing issues like domestic violence/ abuse is completely taboo. It happens, as it does to all women, and yet women in our  community don’t discuss it, it’s something that we do not talk about. The fact this group was held right in the heart of the community and was advertised as a coffee morning rather than something more specific made it more accessible.

Some women that come, their husbands drop them off, and obviously you don’t want your partner knowing what we are discussing. It’s promoted as a space for  children, which it is, but it’s also a safe space for us to discuss our experiences, whether that’s domestic violence, abuse, anything else, and to provide support to one another.

One woman who I’m still in touch with actually got referred through this group for specialist support and she’s now out of the abusive relationship she was in. It’s      amazing, she’s set up in a new place, she’s got independence and all the things she needs for her and her child. The support we get from the group is incredible.

“It was support that I needed at the most  important time of my life – Women A”

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