Covid 19 has certainly unearthed some of the worst discrepancies in our society and implored us all to get up and assist those in need where we can. The homeless were suddenly housed albeit temporarily, the hungry need to be fed, How many of us in 2020 Britain were aware that children and adults were regularly going without at least one square meal a day. The inequalities that exist in 2020 Britain all need to be addressed for a more cohesive society that can thrive.
Additionally, there are people who traditionally had never been in need or want for anything, now find themselves relying on the goodwill of others or the state.
This is just one story from Bristol where a community centre has come together with diverse members of the community contributing whatever attributes they can to enable the supply of vital provisions for the those in need.
MALCOLM X COMMUNITY CENTRE – BRISTOL FOOD HUB
By Primrose Granville
The Malcolm X Community Centre is at the heart of the African Caribbean Community in Bristol. It is located both on City and Ashley Road, St. Paul’s, minutes away from the city centre. St. Paul’s is a significant community for several reasons. In the early 18th century it was laid out as one of Bristol’s first suburbs which was quite an affluent area. It is the area where the first wave of Caribbean immigrants arrived during the ‘Windrush’ era. The community is now one of the most diverse places in the city, where more than 91 languages are spoken.
Over time, the area has suffered from lack of investment in infrastructure, education, housing, healthcare and social care and an often unfair and fractious relationship with ‘The Establishment’. All the components of what makes for a good, solid neighbourhood which has resulted in the area’s high rank on national indices of multiple deprivation.
The Malcolm X Community Centre was born out of the St. Paul’s Uprising of April 2, 1980. This uprising was the catalyst that led to all the other UK uprisings of the 80’s. Locals prefer the term ‘Uprising’ as it signifies their fight for social justice after decades of oppression and suppression.
The centre has been the hub for addressing the issues that have and still affects, particularly, the area’s African Caribbean Community. With support from the City Council and other entities, the centre caters to the consistently marginalised Community which is now a lot more diverse & continues to be ‘hard to reach’ in many ways.
At the beginning of May the centre opened as a 3 month Food Hub catering to the African Caribbean, Asian and other diverse communities in the area, providing culturally appropriate food items to meet the needs resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. As well as Trustees and staff from the centre, the Food Hub is supported by Black South West Network, Bristol City Council, Fare Share and Food Share BRISTOL (part of UK Networks), local businesses and a host of volunteers.
The items are bulk delivered to 6 smaller community groups who then distribute within their networks via a delivery service provided by each group. These groups are Bristol Black Carers, Bristol Horn Youth Concern, Bristol Somali Resource Centre, Can Do Bristol, Talo and Malcolm X Community Centre. A clear demonstration of the community’s strength, unity and care.
The hub has been well received owing to the personal delivery service which maintains the dignity of recipients and guarantees items that respect their individual faith and culture.
As a result of this temporary Food Hub, the Trustees at Malcolm X Community Centre identified a clear need for this service in the community. The centre intends to carry on with its own independent food delivery service when the Food Hub ends.