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Luton Council has recognized our exceptional efforts and achievements of our organisation and as a token of appreciation, the council extended a special invitation to our team to attend a prestigious meeting held at the Luton Town Hall, to provide us the opportunity for His Majesty King Charles to personally acknowledge the contributions made by our organization.  
 His Majesty's gracious presence and keen interest in our work further affirmed the significance of our accomplishments.
We extend our deepest appreciation to the Luton Council for their continuous support and for providing a platform that allows organizations like ours to thrive. Their recognition and invitation have served as a tremendous source of motivation for our team to continue making a positive impact in our community.

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One of our volunteer was honoured with the prestigious Volunteer of the Year award by Bedfordshire Police in recognition of her remarkable service. By awarding with this honour, Bedfordshire Police aimed to showcase the significance of volunteerism and express gratitude for the outstanding efforts made by individuals like Delia Chiuzbaian. It is a reflection of the force's commitment to working collaboratively with the community to create a safer and more inclusive environment for everyone. Delia Chiuzbaian's dedication, passion, and selflessness have earned her the Volunteer of the Year award, a well-deserved recognition for her exceptional service to Bedfordshire Police and the community at large.

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The Certificate of Appreciation awarded by the Luton Mayor is a well-deserved recognition of the outstanding leadership and inspiration provided by our volunteers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Their efforts have made a lasting impact on the community, offering support, solace, and hope in the face of adversity. Their selflessness and commitment serve as an inspiration for others, reminding us of the remarkable capacity we possess to come together and make a positive difference in the lives of those around us.

During year 2021 when the pandemic affected most of the organisation, due to restrictions imposed by the Government, there were different situations in which our team of volunteers intervened to provide support to those at risk or in needs.

We didn’t have financial support, no possibility to have an income, we limited ourselves to volunteer activities of those who were willing to give their time, energy, knowledge, or money to support the community in an unprecedented crisis.

The public benefited from this support provided in the following ways:

One-to-one meetings

  • people received one-to-one sessions where they planned their own recovery journey and set their goals

  • people have been given information, advice and guidance in relation to welfare benefits, housing, education, employment, or community integration

  • homeless people gained confidence as a result of support they received when they had no hope anymore

 

Online Social-Media

  • organised radio shows and distributed special messages to the minority community in the U.K. about coronavirus, inviting different doctors and Health Services representatives

  • videos posted in different languages with information for awareness about Covid

  • podcast online to disseminate the information

  • fundraising held for people in need

 

Emotional and social support in crises

  • the most important contribution to people's well-being was to support them in the most difficult moments of their lives when there was no hope left and everything seemed lost for some of the clients. We were reconciled to the thought that a problem that could have become fatal, through the loss of a life, was solved the moment our volunteers knew how to approach them and bring them to a state of tranquillity that they were able to accept help.

 

Networking:

  • our volunteers directed all their efforts to ensure the security of vulnerable people and to combine our actions to combat human exploitation. We participated as well in the networking meeting organized with representatives of the Romanian community in the UK, MET Police, the president of the Romania-Great Britain friendship group in the Romanian Parliament, representatives of the Romanian National Agency Against People Trafficking (ANITP), as well as representative members of minorities in the Bedfordshire Constabulary Recruitment Team.

 

Other:

  • assisted people in need during the pandemic (e.g delivering food from food banks, offered transport, interpreting, translating)

  • interpreting for Luton Council and Bedfordshire Police during their operations

 

SOCIAL CASES:

  • Help offered translating and interpreting for appointments at GP or at the Hospital and supported with different applications such as Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction applications, helped claiming Universal Credit and Child Benefit, help offered to obtain documents from their Embassy, support provided with translation and interpretation to apply for the Settlement Status.

  • Support offered with application for NI number to be able to start a job and get on their feet, interpreting at the appointments at the Job Centre, help offered to write the CV and continue support in applying to jobs, contacting the Employment\Agencies

  • Referrals made to Adult Social Services regarding adults with disabilities, helped with PIP form by translating questions and answers.

  • Referrals made to Children and family Social Services regarding safeguarding the children who might have been in a suspicious circle of people, or where it was a Domestic Violence case. Support offered to the victims with shelter, clothes, food and guidance, including counselling. 

Many other cases with little intervention from our side had better results in everyday life or at work, at school or in the family.

 

Luton Mayor recognised our effort and awarded us a Certificate of appreciation for leading and inspiring volunteers supporting the community across Luton Town during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

 

We distributed our survey forms to our customers to hear the views of our workforce. People recognised our effort to support the minority communities of East-Europeans during the pandemic time and many of them were willing to give such a support themselves.

 

Some areas for improvement were also identified, the main request was to open the Community Hub and be able to provide more activities.

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We were delighted that we have received support from Luton Rising through their Community Recovery Fund, managed by Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation (BLCF), during the year 2022 and 2023. This grant has been instrumental in enabling us to sustain and expand our efforts in serving the Eastern European minority community in Luton. Thanks to this generous support, we have been able to continue our vital work, empowering individuals and fostering a stronger, more inclusive community. 

We are immensely grateful to Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales for their generous support. "We’re an independent charitable foundation funded by Lloyds Banking Group. We work in  partnership with small and local charities, people and communities, changing lives and working towards a more just and compassionate society. Through unrestricted funding, support to develop, and influencing policy and practice we help small and local charities thrive, communities grow stronger, and people overcome complex issues and barriers so they can transform their lives."

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