Catalyst / Cultural integration, engagement and wellbeing

What's the story?

Founded in 1978, the Southall Day Centre (SDC) provides a range of dedicated services aimed at improving the welfare and quality of life of the large Asian community living in Southall, Ealing. The SDC became affiliated with Catalyst Housing in the same year it was formed and has been an important part of the housing association’s presence in Southall ever since.

What happened?

A growing number of older Asian people in Southall no longer live in traditional family structures, leading them to feel lonely and socially isolated. Some are unable to speak English, and many are unaware of the local services and welfare systems available to them. Many women in the Southall Asian community are excluded from the labour market and family care responsibilities.

Southall Day Centre operates across two sites in Southall and runs programmes and initiatives designed to combat loneliness and isolation, provide access to benefits and learning support with the English language. SDC works alongside the local community to facilitate cultural activities and services that meet the needs of Southall’s Asian community.

What was the outcome?

SDC regularly receives anywhere from 350 to 400 visitors each day, with around 2,000 people registered as customers each year. In recent years, the SDC has run several programmes that have helped clients claim over £3.6m in annual welfare benefits that they would have otherwise missed out on.

SDC has been commissioned by Ealing Council and local health services for over 30 years and also receives funding from many other trusts, charities and statutory bodies to deliver its work.  SDC works in partnership with local charities in order to expand their service offer, including the Carers Pathways consortium that delivers support services for carers looking after vulnerable adults and those with chronic illnesses, long term medical conditions, physical disability, sensory impairment and frail older people. It is also a partner in the Southall Connect consortium with over 20 local partners that deliver social engagement, and health and wellbeing activities to all the diverse communities in the area.

With the infrastructure provided by Catalyst, SDC has developed into a high-quality performer making use of local BAME talent. The centre has been the proud holder of Investors in People since 1997, when it was the first BAME organisation in the UK to receive the prestigious award. It has continually retained the award since then, and in 2008 achieved the Bronze Standard held at that time by only 300 of 28,000 Investors in People organisations in the UK. Having achieved the IIP Silver Standard, SDC was a finalist in the 2019 IIP Awards in the Employer of the Year category.

SDC is a great example of Catalyst meeting the needs of a diverse BAME community through engaging local people. Catalyst has offered its resources and professional framework, enabling the Centre to make use of local BAME knowledge and expertise at management and employee levels. This approach has proved hugely effective in embedding a very successful project at the heart of the community in a culturally appropriate and inclusive way.

What they said

Sahil Khan - Director of Community Investment - said: “The Southall Day Centre is an integral part of Catalyst’s community offer in Southall, helping people across the entire community and not just limited to Catalyst Residents. We are extremely proud to have supported the SDC for the last 40 years, and we’re excited and motivated to continue delivering excellent services for the foreseeable future.”

Sukhwant Sandher - Development Manager at The Southall Day Centre – said: “The Centre is a hugely important part of the Asian community here in Southall and neighbouring areas. Both our sites are packed with people every day, running all sorts of different activities and services, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!”       

Who to speak to

Joe Waters, Public Affairs Manager