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#CatalystLondon workshops take off in Newham

Voice4Change-England held the first of its planned series of workshops focused on supporting BME Communities to develop resilience on Monday 25 September 2023 at the University of East London in the London Borough of Newham.


Proceeding under the banner of #CatalystLondon, the 5-year London-wide project which is funded by City Bridge Trust, is designed to develop and strengthen BME communities through the delivery of a series of free, in-person, interactive, resilience-building workshops as well as 1-2-1 consultations.

Year 1 will focus on the broad theme of “Addressing Inequalities”.

The project intends to identify needs and provide tailored infrastructure support. It will also involve resource sharing and signposting while offering opportunities for networking with other BME organisations across London.


The aim is that the project will positively impact the ecosystem by providing project development support to 70-100 BME organisations.

In terms of organisational strategy, the workshops are in alignment with V4CE’s strategy of seeking resources to improve the capacity of Voluntary and Community Organisations (VCOs) to meet the needs of Black, Minoritised and other disadvantaged communities


The very interactive workshop featured a series of presentations around 4 areas:

a) collecting evidence of race inequalities and building collective action to promote race equality in the current environment,

b) improved understanding of how to conduct needs assessment and using those to design and improve services,

c) how to monitor for impact, avoiding common mistakes and giving your data context and then

d) how to develop and show the impact of marketing, communications and social media strategies.

The presentations were delivered by V4CE staff led by Deputy Director, Dr. Sharmin Shahajan, Development and Grants Officer, Jana Kovariova and Sara Kathrada (via video-feed); Strategic Communications Lead, Toni Kan Onwordi and Communications Officer, Shuqi Zhou. V4CE Trustee, Ila Chandavarkar was also on hand to anchor a session.

The workshop was attended by eight groups working with BME communities based locally in Newham and from other London Boroughs.


Commenting at the end of the workshop, Lara from Time and Talent said the workshop had provided “insights on project management and project life cycles. It’s been a good way to find out about other organisations in London and what they are doing.”


Most of the participants expressed delight at the opportunity to learn about funding opportunities and help with setting up new projects.


Sofina from King’s Cross Brunswick Neighbourhood Association in Camden said she was happy to be at the workshop which she found “very useful. There are lots of stuff I will take back to implement in my community work, especially around project cycles as well as the monitoring side.”


Alongside others who had expressed a need for further 1-2-1 support, Safina said she would need more support in producing a good impact report.


The next workshop will be held on the 18th of October 2023 in the London Borough of Hackney.

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