“We must get the message out effectively because with the right advice we can save lives..” Bashir Uddin, Chief Exec. Bangla Housing Association.

Bashir Uddin Chief Executive of Bangla Housing Association based in Hackney, has been successful in his £50k bid to National Lottery COVID Recovery Plan, for Bangla HA’s COVID Advice Project, where two Bangladeshi speaking Health Advice Project Workers will deliver COVID advice out to 10000 Bangladeshi households in Hackney and Tower Hamlets. 

The Bangladeshi Community in London is recognised as one the BAME communities most at risk of fatalities, given the statistics published by Public Health England in its report on the disproportionality of the impact of COVID 19 during the summer.

“We must get the message out effectively because with the right advice we can save lives.

Bashir stated “We must get the message out effectively because with the right advice we can save lives. We don’t know anyone in the Bangladeshi community who does not know somebody who has died as a result of COVID. It’s clear that the messages about how to stay safe have not been getting through.

“This funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund distributed from the National Lottery Community Fund will help us reach those who are vulnerable and at-risk in the Bangladeshi community in East London and get them to realise how serious it is to protect yourself against COVID 19 and how serious the consequences are if you don’t. Thanks to the Government for making this possible”

Working closely with Spitalfields Housing Association another member within the BME London Landlords group, the Bangladeshi COVID Advice project will produce a COVID Advice video in Bengali, provide literature in Bengali, with the two workers employed networking with NHS provision and Hackney and Tower Hamlets local authority to target the Bangladeshi community beyond just Bangla HA and Spitalfields HA residents. 

It was at July’s director’s meeting of BME London Landlords that Bashir made a call to action to his fellow BMELL members the need for an urgent response, to the number of deaths in the Bangladeshi community during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the summer lockdown. Anticipating the second wave Bashir sought support from the group, summarising that many organisations in the collaborative group had Bangladeshi tenants and something urgently needed to be done because lives were at stake. The group gave full support sponsoring Bangla’s application to the National Lottery recovery fund, which focused on getting clear messages out to the Bangladeshi community in their own language, which was not a method yet being used to provide targeted advice to the at-risk community on how to protect itself from the risk.  

Since Bashir’s call for action was mobilised amongst the BMELL group,  BME London Landlords have been exploring further work on how to get targeted messages to other BME communities at risk and how the group can bring its influence to become more of a community enabler.  Tamil Community Housing Association has led the BMELL group in this area, by facilitating ten Tamil Community organisations with capacity building to submit funding applications to provide frontline services to its residents and the wider community, from which a number of funding applications have already been successful.

Bangla HA’s COVID advice project starts at the beginning of October and runs for six months.”