Saj Ghafoor from Multicultural Cumbria tells us about her hopes for increasing community cohesion, tolerance and understanding in Cumbria and the importance of a sustainable future for the organisation in order to achieve this.

Tell us a bit about Multicultural Cumbria…
We are based in Carlisle, the city of the lakes in Cumbria, and our vision is to bring together people from over sixty heritages to share our similarities and celebrate our differences through food, sport and the arts. We endeavour to have fun and engage all ages and backgrounds to come together to share experiences as a community.

What appeals to you about the Prosper North programme?
We are a charity that has community passion and commitment at its core. Prosper North has the same determination to help us strengthen our foundations to deliver what the needs are efficiently and effectively. Cumbria is not always a county that attracts support and funding at this level.

How do you hope it will help with the challenges and opportunities your organisation faces?
Our biggest challenge is to raise funds and awareness of ethnic diversity in Cumbria and how people can contribute a vast array of skills, knowledge and experience around culture and heritage on an everyday basis. Many BAME people lack confidence due to a sense of loneliness and isolation due to language, cultural, geographical and social barriers.
We hope that Prosper North will help us to become sustainable for the longer term by helping us to find new ways to attract funding. This will help us show that the ethnic diversity and range of cultures in Cumbria are vital to community cohesion, tolerance and understanding. How better than to do that than through activities, workshops and performances by BAME people themselves with the support of the wider local communities. 

What are you hoping to achieve by the end of the programme?
We want to develop and streamline the operational structure for the business and volunteer management. This would help Multicultural Cumbria have the time, ability and capacity to make people happy, increase wellbeing and connectedness and to develop ethnic minority community champions that inspire others to be empowered and proud of their identity and heritage.

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Find out more about Prosper North and how to apply for the next edition here