Bideford volunteer Stephen writes about a volunteer team visit to North Devon Sunrise.

Last Tuesday, the Bideford group of the TOSFOR project visited North Devon Sunrise (open Monday – Thursday) in Barnstaple, to meet with Ana in her final week as Community Development Officer, before she changes roles to take responsibility for fundraising and PR.

Sunrise’s aim is to celebrate diversity, challenge discrimination and to change attitudes. With a staff of two Community Development Officers, a Community Outreach Worker and a plethora of volunteers, the organisation, funded by the National Lottery, provides activities, services and events for people living across North Devon and Torridge, including those of ‘diverse identities such as minority ethnic groups, disabled people and the LGBTQIA community’.

Ana took us through the free services Sunrise offer: one to one support, e.g. from housing and school application forms through to honour-based abuse; ESOL classes and conversation; diversity awareness for schools and groups; a LGBTQIA social network, organisation of, and involvement with, the North Devon Diversity Festival; and community activities, e.g. Around the World Day, held monthly in Barnstaple library for under 5s, providing the opportunity to learn about different cultures within the world.

Work has taken place in primary, secondary and further education colleges, facilitating the creation of a safe environment where students are able to discuss and explore the consequences of racism. Feedback from staff and students has been excellent and it is hoped that this will be further developed and widened in its scope.

A huge thank you to Ana and others who not only made our visit so pleasurable, but also encouraged some lively and interesting discussion.

Should anyone working within the TOSFOR project require any further information or support from Sunrise, it was stressed that they would be more than willing to help in any way possible. You can contact them here.