“We build community cohesion, and our integration work breaks down barriers”


Set up in the mid-1990s in response to a rapidly growing ethnic minority population, Barking & Dagenham Somali Women’s Association (B&D SWA) is a locally-based health, wellbeing, training and employability organisation (UK Registered charity no: 1144357) committed to providing support to ethnic minority women and their families from its resource centre in Barking.


Historically, we have developed our organisation from a small self-help group to a registered charity that now has a key strategic role in the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham and surrounding boroughs contributing to developing the needs of ethnic minority groups.


Each year we help some 500 women with our goal of making a real difference to the lives of real people. It is estimated that more than 7,000 women have passed through our ‘open doors’ to receive support, training and advice. All of this – according to the latest Government deprivation information – in the second poorest borough in London, and the 9th poorest in England (from a total of 326 local authority areas).


The population locally is predicted to rise rapidly, from 186,000 at the time of 2011 Census to more than 221,000 by 2020 – just a handful of years away. Clearly, as a charity we work in one of the most challenging social environments in the country.


The charity’s trustees, staff and volunteers are themselves local women who genuinely would like to improve the lives of women and their families in the wider community.