At our Annual General Meeting in March 2020 we elected a new Board of Directors and set out our work targets and priorities for the year. It was during that same month that the world changed forever. Coronavirus (COVID-19) became the worst pandemic that our generation had seen. This had a tremendous impact on the centre as we had to close our doors, causing almost all activities to stop. This meant we had to refocus and restructure the organisation to cope with our new reality. Just prior to the national lockdown we cemented and strengthened our partnership with Black South West Network and other organisations and individuals in order to continue our services. Our management and governance structure changed as administration and communication through social media became the new way to work. We established an Executive Team of four board members who met monthly and subsequently fed back to the full board quarterly. It is fair to say we were meeting much more often as we had to accommodate the changes that confronted us due to the coronavirus epidemic. Our main sources of income had suddenly stopped.
Funding from BSWN and Quartet enabled some capacity to function and the reduction in our services did enable less spending. The lockdown gave us an opportunity to re-focus our work as we could set up new projects and partnerships. This started with our Organ Donation Project spearheaded by our Chair Primrose Granville and our involvement in the Food Hub Consortium Project introduced by our secretary Donna Pinnock and Vice Chair Madu Ellis. With the support of our members, volunteers and supporters, we are in the process of modernising our finance system through our treasurer, Oluwatosin Shittu, and improving our online communication platforms (website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram). We embarked on a series of fund-raising initiatives and successfully received:
Funding from United Communities to strengthen our Food Hub
Funding to provide food and cultural programs for people in the African/Caribbean communities with dementia
Refund from Bristol City Council for the business rates we paid over the years
Funding from Avon and Somerset Constabulary to run a young persons project
Funding from Victoria Mutual to support our Food Hub
Seconded Business Development Manager from BSWN to assist in the development of our funding
Training Strategy and Business Plan
Development of our website and social media platforms
Strengthening our volunteer group
Essential repair to both buildings we manage
Reviewing and renewing our policies, procedures and internal office management and financial processes
Funding from Bristol City Council to address the impact of COVID-19
Though we have achieved many positive things in the last 10 months, there are still huge challenges. We will continue to find useful ways to ensure that we accomplish our main mission and vision which is to provide a hub that specifically addresses the needs of the African/Caribbean communities in St. Paul’s and the surrounding areas, ensuring that we work with all communities and partners to achieve these objectives. As we move forward, we are mindful that things are unlikely to return to how they were, with new measures and different ways of providing service becoming a part of our reality. The pandemic is still very much with us; fortunately, we have been able to support over 300 households with food and money during these hard times. We have strengthened our membership base and will continue to actively encourage people to join the organisation and become active in its management and governance.
Using our new website, social media platforms (@MXCCBristol) and information board at MX centre will enable us to communicate more effectively with our members and the wider community. It is fair to say that over the years the Malcolm X Community Centre has received a lot of negative press, which is why the board is so pleased that we are now able to share the good news on our positive way forward with you. We have definitely achieved a lot during these uncertain times and, with your support, will continue to work hard to develop the centre into a place that we can all feel proud of.
Our aim is to continue working hard to ensure that we are ready to accommodate whatever this new year brings, while ensuring that all we do operates in line with Government Guidelines.
Please keep looking to our website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and info board at MX centre for ongoing updates.
We wish you all a very peaceful and productive 2021.
Board of Directors