WHO ARE WE?
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