Welfare Rights Advice:
The Welfare Rights Advice and Information services which has been provided by the Centre since its establishment, is delivered to users through drop-in sessions as well as on appointment basis from Monday to Friday between 12noon and 5pm. During drop-in sessions, clients are assisted with filling in of various benefit forms. The problems dealt with include family credit, pensions, disability allowance, child tax credit, Council tax, housing benefit including housing and re-housing problems.

Clients are also helped with advice on general issues. Translation and interpretation are also undertaken in the sessions.

Hostel Accommodation:
The Bangladesh Centre has 31 bed spaces per night. The majority of the income gained from the hostel service is being spent on the repairs and maintenance of the building and the running cost of the Centre. As we were out of funding since April 2004, In order for us to keep providing this service, the building needs severe structural work along with new décor in order to keep in line with British hygiene and safety regulations. Thus, although we are grateful for the contributions received so far from our members. Extra contributions will enable us to undertake structural work. This means we can accommodate a higher number of people within the building through our hostel programme which in turn would mean more income for the organisation. This would lead to more initiatives and services within the organisation being run in a more professional standard.

Roughly 20 percent of the hostel user’s are from UK whilst the rest are students from Bangladesh and abroad.  The Centre Hostel is equipped with a kitchen, a lounge area with a TV. Internet access is also available.

 

Community Education:
The Centre’s Community Education programmed includes the teaching of the Bengali and English languages, Art, Music, Dance and Drama to Bangladeshi children and adults. The language Classes are held on every Sunday from 10am to 1pm and the Music and Drama Classes are held on the same day in the afternoon.

It is important to note the local borough has stopped funding for these programmes well over many years. Since then, it has been funded privately within the organisation.

 

ICT Project:
Although finances are an issue, we at the Centre are still able to provide Information Technology facilities to members of the community, visitors, students and the hostel inhabitants. Packages such as Microsoft Word and Excel along with free internet use are available within the Centre.

The Project also helped the users carry out research on various issues and job search, writing up CV’s and job applications through the use of Internet services.

 

Multilingual Medical Advice:
Sessions are run by Dr Halima Begum Alam, MBBS MRCOG (London). The Centre is trying to cater for everyone’s needs. Dr. H. B. Alam is one of the active members of the Council of Management of Bangladesh Centre and providing her invaluable expertise on a voluntary basis. She would be available to discuss and advise regarding women’s and children’s health, prevention and care of heart disease, diabetes, mellitus, blood pressure and smoking which affects a huge proportion of Bangladeshis residing in the UK including other health issues.  These medical advice sessions are held on every Sunday afternoons. Those interested to use this facility are requested to make an appointment in advance. However, funding will enable the employment of staff supporting Dr. H. B. Alam, so they can deal with more wide ranging health issues.

 

Women Affairs:
The Convenor of our Women’s Sub-Committee Miss Gulnaher Khan leads women’s gatherings every Saturday evenings. Women who would like to attend these gatherings are advised to make contact with her. As stated before this is an opportunity for women to express their views on whatever issue. For example, issues which they may not be able to comment on in a public environment.  At the Centre we believe in an equal and tolerant society. Due to lack of funding it becomes difficult to run many activities.

 

Elderly Project:
This is directly run by two members of the Council of Management, they are Alhaj Manik Meah and Mr. Ashraf Uddin. Every Friday about 50/60 elderly members get together, have refreshments and exchange their views, ideas and opinion on various interesting topics of their choice. Here it is important to note that this project is another service which is run on a voluntary basis.

 

Cultural Activities:
The Centre promotes cultural activities by organising various important events such as, Bangladesh Victory Day, Independence & National Day, Bengali New Year’s Day. The Centre also observes the Martyrs’ Day and the International Mother Language Day in commemoration of the 1952 Bengali Language Movement, on the 21st February every year. The purpose of the celebration of important events is to educate and enlighten the younger generation of the Bengali Culture, tradition and history,  which generated a huge amount of interest not only from Bangladeshi’s but also from other ethnic groups as they were so unique in colour and ideas.

 

Library and Information Services:
The library and information services are used by a diverse range of individuals such as hostel inhabitants to non-Bengali visitors to the Centre. The centre’s impressive collection of invaluable books/reading materials has helped both the overseas students residing within the Centre and local communities to expand their knowledge and broaden their horizons who used this service regularly.

 

Community Development/Liaison:
In order to facilitate the integration of British Bangladeshi’s into British society, The Bangladesh Centre being a sizeable national voluntary sector organisation has tried to maintain an effective rapport with the indigenous white British community and has frequently participated in the community development activities at local, regional and national levels.