The Somali Community Parents Association (SOCOPA) was set up in 2005 with the aim of helping Somali refugees and migrants in Leicester understand and access key services including health, education and housing. We act as a focal point for the community, offering practical support and leadership to improve people’s lives.

Our role has continued and evolved over the years. We have good relations with the council, elected members and the main public agencies in the city. We have improved the community’s voice in our work and run a regular forum for parents to meet with neighbourhood police, councillors and staff from the council.

On a daily basis we run a drop-in advice service from our offices on Brunswick Street in the St Matthew’s estate. We handled just under 1,000 cases in 2018 and respond to a wide range of concerns. Language barriers remain a big problem for many women and older men so we act as interpreter and help with form filling particularly for GPs, schools and housing and benefit offices. Recently we have seen a big demand for help completing EU migrant UK residence forms.

Two volunteers run a popular weekly ESOL / keep fit class for 20 women and we would like to do more but are limited by space. We run other training classes including a youth club from the local neighbourhood community centre and a Saturday supplementary class. Parents say that they really value this and their children have improved their grades at school as a result.

We are currently working with Leicester council to raise awareness of fostering services and to encourage Somali families to come forward. Many Somali parents are concerned about children being taken into care and we have worked hard to help people understand that this is not so



On behalf of Harriet and myself, just to say thank you once again for organising such a great meeting yesterday. We were extremely taken by the warm and generous reception you and the community gave us, and we both found it an extremely enlightening and useful session. We’re both very grateful to you for organising, and to the whole community for giving up their afternoon to welcome us. Please do pass on our most sincere gratitude and thanks to your colleagues.Harriet has of course promised to return to Leicester, so I hope we shall see you again soon. With all best wishes,
Claudia Garland
I am thankful to the Somali Community Parents Association who helped me in passing my driving theory test. They provided me with a friendly environment. The tutor was kind and polite who not only guided me well but also gave a boost to my morale. I appreciate that they gave me individual attention to pass my test. I hope they will continue their good efforts so that they will be a well known centre in Leicester.
I appreciate the help I received from the Somali Community Parents Association; they were polite and very positive with a great attitude towards the participants. SOCOPA helped me with my theory test; they booked it for me and gave me the support and confidence to pass it, as well as providing me with free driving lessons for my practical test which I took a week after I has passed my theory test. I also passed my practical exam and I wouldn’t have done it without the help from the Somali Community Parents Association.
Ayub Mohamed Abdi
I am 21 and SOCOPA has helped me improve my skills and has helped me work hard towards my future objectives such as finishing university and finding work. It has helped me improve my organisational skills and has made me the person I am today. SOCOPA organisation helped me improve my A level biology grade immensly due to the tuition they offered. Overall my previous grade increased, I am very thankful to this organisation me for helping me with my academic education.
Imisra Hasan
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