Leicester Ageing Together Learning event: BAME older people flourishing

University of Leicester co-organised event to focus on overcoming loneliness among BAME older people in the community.

Renowned activist and academic Amrit Wilson, author of ‘Finding a Voice’, an award-winning study of the lives of South Asian women, will speak at the next Leicester Ageing Together (LAT) Learning event, ‘Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Older People Flourishing’, on Wednesday 23 January 2019, at Highfields Centre Leicester.

Organised in strategic partnership with the University of Leicester’s DICE: Unit for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement and The Race Equality Centre (TREC), the event will focus on learning from LAT, a Big Lottery-funded partnership of 17 voluntary and community sector organisations, in harnessing the strengths and assets of the local community in overcoming loneliness and social isolation among older people.

BAME older people are more likely to live in the most deprived communities and are at higher risk of loneliness and social isolation. However, 64% of LAT participants have been BAME, a result of the strong partnership approach including community-based organisations such as Highfields Community Association (HCA), West Indian Senior Citizen’s Project (WISCP), Pakistani Youth and Community Association (PYCA) and the Confederation of Indian Organisations (CIO).

Bharti Mistry, one of LAT’s Community Connectors, said: “Visiting different community centres and places of worship in Belgrave, I hear so many people talking about wanting to improve their lives by eating healthily, doing chair-yoga, meeting friends for a cup of tea and a chat at a social group. But barriers include a lack of confidence to get out and about, or worries that it might affect your benefits. I’m pleased to have linked people together to create a Belgrave Ladies Wellness Group, and in a matter of weeks we’ve had 40 women sign-up to come together and improve their lives.”

Daxa Patel, LAT Board member said: “We are delighted that Amrit Wilson will be joining us as our keynote speaker. Amrit compels us to move from individual stories of loneliness and isolation, to community-led campaigns for equality and justice – challenging ageism, sexism and racism and encouraging BAME older people’s active role in their communities.”

Professor Surinder Sharma, Co-Director of DICE at the University of Leicester, said: “DICE supports LAT and strategic partners such as Public Health to come together to share stories of community engagement in Leicester with wider audiences, so that local people from all backgrounds can shape inclusive service re-design, create innovative products and co-produce improvements in health and wellbeing.”