Lucky is an active Committee Member of the voluntary group Chat over Chai to provide support to the BAME community in Portsmouth. The group is open to those aged over 18 and meets weekly at Havelock Community Centre in Fawcett Road to come and meet others in the community and learn useful tips. Visit the Chat over Chai website.
What are some of your recent achievements that you’re most proud of that you’d like to share?
Chat over Chai is a voluntary group, and my parents were the first two members. It was originally for over 50s, but we’ve expanded the group to adults aged 18 and over. We launched the monthly diabetes workshop in August and the lunch club launched in September 2021 (in addition to our weekly group). Members of the BAME community over age 25 are particularly at risk of diabetes so we set out to raise awareness about the disease. At the sessions, some are being trained as community champions, others are being educated on how to manage their condition, looking out for the signs of diabetes and where to find support. We’ve also worked with BH Live to check the blood pressure of members and encourage them to become more active. Staff who ran the asymptomatic testing site also visited our group to show them how to use the lateral flow tests properly. We’ve had a podiatrist to help people who may suffer with their feet because of diabetes. And I’ve put together a glossary of the medical words associated with diabetes so members of the community can understand the terminology when speaking with a health care professional.
As an active member of the group, I listen to our members about their interests, concerns and priorities. It’s about empowering people with knowledge and how to look after themselves, but in a fun way. Simply, it’s an engaging resource hub.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a member of the BAME community person in Portsmouth/UK and how have you overcome it?
The biggest challenge has been with accessing support, knowing what services are available and having the confidence to approach various agencies. We were awarded a grant by NHS Solent to launch our diabetes workshop and continue this important work for the community.
Community cohesion is needed to ensure that isolated members of the BAME community are included in mainstream activities and opportunities.
The other challenge that I have is balancing family life with commitments around Chat over Chai. It’s challenging in finding the time as I have a neurodiverse young child.
But there is a lot of love in the community and there are visible positive impacts on people’s lives that keeps me motivated.
Who is your inspiration or role model?
Michelle Obama is an inspiration because she has done so much work with young girls and education, and empowering females. More locally, Marshada Choudhury and Rowshonara Reza are also an inspiration because of how supportive they are and how they manage home, work, and family life.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
It’s amazing and a very important opportunity for people to learn the history and contribution of Black and Brown people.
What would you say to your younger self, knowing what you’ve achieved now?
I would say put yourself first. Education is so important. Travel as much as you can whilst you can.