Funds run out for volunteers

MANAGERS of a volunteer project that helped Bangladeshi women get involved in the community spoke of their disappointment today after it emerged the scheme is coming to an end due to a lack of funding.

MANAGERS of a volunteer project that helped Bangladeshi women get involved in the community spoke of their disappointment today after it emerged the scheme is coming to an end due to a lack of funding.

The Bangladeshi Women's Project is winding up at the end of the year.

It encouraged Bangladeshi women to take up voluntary work and also obtained placements for them and provided them with support.

Managed by the Ipswich & District Volunteer Centre in Tower Street, the project has helped about 70 Asian women become volunteers since starting in March 2003.


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The project has recieved between £25,000 and £30,000 from the Learning and Skills Council and other grant-making bodies during its lifetime.

Project worker Reena Begum said: “It's such a shame to see the project come to an end. These women wouldn't have volunteered otherwise.

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“Providing the extra support, going to interviews with them, going with them on their first day and helping with the language really helped.

“We just want to thank everybody who has supported and funded us.

“I would also like to extend a big thank you to all the ladies who came forward and engaged in voluntary work. It must have taken a lot of effort and courage. I hope everyone who volunteered enjoyed the experience.”

Mrs Begum said the project started because several Bangladeshi women, who were doing courses in English, wanted to do volunteer work but had difficulties being placed because of language barriers.

Lynne McNab, manager of the volunteer centre, said the women mainly did placements at schools, playgroups and charity shops.

She said: “Bangladeshi women are quite marginalised and this is something good for them to do.

“I think it developed their language skills and gave them confidence. The organisation that gave them the volunteering placement had the benefit of learning about a different culture.

“If they decided they wanted to get a job, it would help. It's been a hugely successful project.

“But we have been unable to find any more funding, which is disappointing because it was quite innovative.”

Mrs McNab said that they would like to continue the project and are in the process of applying to other grant-making bodies.

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