Annual Report 2021
Member of Parliament for Kensington
Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Iceland and Norway
Parliamentary Private Secretary to Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
I have always been aware of the strong sense of community in Kensington, and in the two years since my election, I have been honoured to witness first-hand the incredible compassion and resilience of residents. The pandemic has brought out the best in so many of us – the huge increase in volunteers working with our wonderful local organisations, such as Al Hasaniya, is testament to our capacity for good.
I hope we continue to mobilise residents such that national and local government, as well as businesses and voluntary organisations can work together to continue to support our more vulnerable neighbours.
بينما لدينا الوقت دعونا نفعل الخير
How true is this saying! Coronavirus has refocused our collective interests and priorities because we simply had to. Living during the unknown has had a spectacular impact on our lives, and above all, our mental health.
The spirit of solidarity since the pandemic has truly been tested on all fronts and nowhere has it been so prominent as within the public sector. Whether statutory or voluntary public services, both have been stretched beyond anybody’s imagination, yet, as an organisation and as compassionate humans continue to deliver.
Life under lockdown
Souad Talsi MBE
We have decided that in this year’s report, we will adopt the great motto of:
Work in silence and let your work speak for you.
We feel that the platform for this year's AGM should be given to our users to tell us how we're doing and where we can improve.
Like many people, our users had struggled during lockdown with the inability to manage on their own, to navigate the system without face-to-face presence & contact and inability to use the internet. Their limited English played havoc in their lives. Some described it as a "prison sentence without a crime" being committed. Others say it was the worst form of “soft dictatorship” they had encountered in their lives, especially the elderly who amongst them, some did suffer political atrocities and imprisonment in their younger years in their home countries and the analogy seems to hit hard.
For others, the lockdown also produced a positive element in their lives, as the respite from some of the things that triggered their anxiety in their pre-coronavirus lives, was a much-welcomed alternative to the daily cumbersome tasks, such as the underground commute and the stressful office environment. Confinement also allowed them the scarce and unique moments to stay home with their loved ones and in the case of the younger, working generation, it meant that support for their elderly family members was on hand. Unintentionally the confinement offered a rare view of what life was before, the feeling of family life, warmth and support.
As a nation, we survived the first year of a combined confinement, restrictions and uncertainty.
Serving our clients was an immense task as it was a bag of mixed emotions. It allowed us to see what vulnerability really meant to those who are extremely isolated, with no family support, living with disabilities and poverty. Others who benefitted from the restriction were able to spend time with their loved ones who were usually busy, took the time to check on them and ensure they were not lonely or in need.
More than ever, we remain collectively committed to confronting challenges and carrying our belief in #togetherbetter
Overview of the numbers
There is no doubt that the last two years have been incredible. Our patience, resilience, stamina, and strength have all been tested.
Over the past 2 years, we have seen case work and client interaction increase by 214% from 2019-2021 increasing from 6,526 cases/calls to 20,457!
A message from our Interim CEO
Souad Talsi MBE
It is important to recognise that the voluntary sector plays a huge role in supporting the statutory sector, saving it millions every year and enhancing the service delivery to its users because of its unique specialism. Often those who fund us say they cannot allow dependency and we must look “elsewhere” for appropriate funding to continue serving our client group. Yet, our work supports the very statutory body who seems often in denial of our crucial role in this regard.
Our organisation celebrated its 36th year of service delivery on 25th November 2021 and we would like to think that we have been instrumental in supporting our client group with accessing services otherwise unavailable or denied to them because of language and cultural barriers. We have saved a huge amount of funds for the statutory sector by proving this unique and specialist service. The partnership is formidable and at no time has this been so crucial as of now.
We need to continue working together to support the muffled voices that are often left unheard. The increase in mental health cases, domestic violence, and abuse as with potential failure of children academically, because of the pandemic, MUST remain at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
As the founding member and current interim Chief Executive, I remain positive that this small organisation will continue to deliver and flourish beyond my time and support those in most need.
A huge thank you to our wonderful team, trustees, and our funders, as without their support, we could not possibly do the things we have done whilst working from Monday to Sunday!
A word from our manager
Life in and out of lockdown has proven difficult even for the strongest of characters. As a British born Moroccan, strength is an attribute that I have had instilled in me through family and community since a very young age, and I am very proud of my local community for their strength and ability to overcome the obstacles that we have been faced with during the continuing pandemic.
Working as part of a team who provides support to those most in need and puts the needs of others before theirs has become a privilege to me, and has saved the lives of many who would otherwise be left isolated, lonely and with deteriorating mental health issues as we saw during the first lockdown. Faced with Covid-related deaths, calming the fears of those we seek to serve and informing them of real facts rather than fake-news became a new part of our roles.
Returning to some semblance of normality looked like the light at the end of the tunnel. With rising cases of domestic violence, mental health issues and a lack of clarity all around, when service users were welcomed back to face-to-face sessions, we were inundated with casework, requests for therapy and pleas for support.
A mixture of face-to-face, remote working, and outreach work ensured that all our service users were supported. Many who had also been affected by the local flooding in the summer were equally supported in contacting their housing teams, having damaged property replaced and even being moved to temporary accommodation until their properties were repaired.
With Covid-19 cases rising once again and the focus on keeping our vulnerable safe, it’s with gratitude and thanks to an unrivalled team, funders, donors, and friends who have placed their faith in our service and continue to support us to support our service users through difficult times.
Here’s a brief of our current services:
We wanted this year’s annual report to be a platform for our users to express themselves on how they feel about the pandemic, the services we deliver and how we can improve.
Here are some of the quotes we collated during 2021 from our community,
Celebrating equality, diversity and inclusion remains a strong ethos in everything we do and with that we ensured this year’s Silver Sunday celebration was exceptional.
We were delighted to welcome over one hundred older people from all walks of life to celebrate this unique event and feel once more “human” as one of our women said.
The Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, Councillor, Gerard Hargreaves, and deputy Mayor, Sof McVeigh, attended the event where we had live music and home cooked couscous, which made the event; one to remember.
Women who otherwise would struggle walking to the centre, were up, dancing, clapping, and having a super good time. A stark reminder on how the pandemic has really impacted on their mental health and the crucial need for personal interaction, face-to-face meetings, social groups, and feeling the warmth of being together made all the difference.
Despite the confinement, uncertainly and partial delivery from a face-to-face basis, our organisation has achieved incredible heights. Below is a summary of our achievements in 2021:
Over 20,000 telephone calls received, and enquiries dealt with
9,936 Domestic Violence cases were supported
From January to May 2021, over 500 meals were delivered to disabled clients and those confined due to their vulnerability
From May to December 2021, over 400 Meals at the centre.
Over 2,569 Mental Health cases were supported
Over 276 one-one therapeutic psychotherapy sessions undertaken
Over 71 children supported at the Saturday club
Over 1,456 men were supported at Ayam Zaman Club
Over 95 legal cases were referred to our honorary law clinic
Over 6 cases taken by our MP Felicity Buchan
In all, 20,457 people were supported by us in the year 2021.
2021 also saw the centre participate in greater work as a policy shaper.
Became members of the End Violence Against Women Coalition and also signed the Black and Minoritised Women's Manifesto in support of the Anti-Racism Charter organised by Imkaan.
Organised three outstanding speakers for the UN16 day activism under the UN CEDAW charter
Appeared on France24 in support of UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
Over twelve articles written about Al-Hasaniya and its work supporting women, victims of domestic violence and abuse, both, here and abroad
Completed our documentary on domestic violence and the impact of the pandemic titled ‘Breaking the Violent Silence’
Completed the translation and published our first book on the pandemic and domestic violence titled ‘Breaking the Violent Silence’ by Slaiki Publishing House in Tangiers, Morocco
Al-Hasaniya was the catalyst in two high-profile criminal cases and saw its statement and intervention prove highly influential in ensuring the perpetrators in the two cases have their sentences suitably increased to suit the crime
Ten TV interviews and appearances took place to talk about our work
Six radio interviews took place about Moroccan diaspora and our work within Al-Hasaniya Moroccan Women’s Centre.
Our Chair and Trustee
2021 saw 36 years of excellent service delivery to a community that unfortunately remains under the radar because of its continuous flow of migration from abroad. The turmoil in the Arab world and recent Brexit has had an impact on our work on all fronts. We remain that beacon of hope, the door that is always open, that welcoming smile that says, "we are here to help."
Welcoming our funders, partners and those who believe in our work, our commitment, loyalty and dedication without whom our work would not be possible. Resources and recognition are an important factor, and we hope that in 2022, we will see a greater recognition, more trustees and more consolidated efforts to win over the current doom and gloom that the pandemic has thrusted upon the world.
We welcome you to visit our website www.al-hasaniya.org.uk to keep up to date with our news, work, and partners as they come. Suffice to say our report would not be complete without mentioning all our funders one-by-one and to say a huge THANK YOU for the support!