Bucks BAME Network celebrates first anniversary

The newly formed group already has over 100 companies within its community.

Monday, 16th August 2021, 12:39 pm
Updated Monday, 16th August 2021, 2:09 pm

On Wednesday (August 18), Bucks' BAME Network (BBN) celebrates its first birthday, over 50 local companies have already joined the group.

The purpose of the group established last summer, is to bring together leaders from different BAME organisations.

The network encourages collaboration, support and networking between the different companies throughout Buckinghamshire.

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Mimi Harker OBE, Founder of The Buckinghamshire BAME Network

It has nine active work streams spanning: youth, education, housing, arts, culture and events, crime and justice, health and wellbeing, communications, the elderly and women.

Alongside the 50 Bucks companies, over 100 organisations are involved in the larger network, as well as individuals.

The BBN is designed to allow individuals and company leaders to come together and voice their opinions, confront issues, and improve the lives of those in the local BAME community.

Poonam Gupta, member of the Buckinghamshire BAME network, says: "Understanding the similarities and appreciating the difference between communities and faiths is very important to me. Having the opportunity to support groups doing exactly that is what inspired me to join.”

A spokesperson from the BNN wanted to highlight the following events from the past year:

-In October 2020, the group commemorated Black History month by partnering with St Vincent and the 2nd Generation (SV2G) to host three webinars and exhibitions in five libraries across Bucks narrating black culture-based stories from the local communities.

-BBN held a virtual event for Diwali where they had hundreds of people attend globally, with attendees from the UK, India, USA, Australia and Europe.

-The network also hosted a mental health webinar partner with Public Health Buckinghamshire, which heard three people tell their stories about how they have battled with mental health and issues that arise when you are from BAME backgrounds, due to the cultural issues that make it more difficult to talk about this subject.

-It hosted an inaugural event for International Women’s Day featuring Rachael Shimmin OBE, CEO of Buckinghamshire Council, and Patti Boulaye OBE, star of stage and screen. They shared their journeys and challenges to inspire other women. The event also had a young women’s panel, with people aged 15-27 years old, who debated whether IWD had any relevance to them and what their journey so far looked like.

-In addition to this, Mimi Harker was invited on behalf of the group attended the Daytop Multi Cultural Centre awards ceremony, which celebrates the success of a number of women who have completed a sewing course online and then went on to make a variety of different garments and articles.

Mimi Harker OBE, founder of the Buckinghamshire BAME Network and Councillor says: "We have had a fantastic year making a massive impact within our community. But our work is only getting started. We are about to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). This will allow us to achieve some serious funding to organise more informational webinars with inspirational partners. We also plan to run workshops tackling domestic violence, social isolation, and mental health. The next year is going to be our chance to really expand."

Buckinghamshire based organisations wishing to get involved in the county’s BAME network can contact Mimi directly via [email protected]