Bosnia and Herzegovina Community Advice Centre (BHCAC) was set up in 1997 and registered as a charity on the 26th March 2001. It is unique in focusing on the needs of older and/or disabled people from Bosnia living in London, establishing a long-term relationship of trust with people from the West Balkan region.
BHCAC is a registered charity set up in 1997. The organisation provides an important socio-cultural focus for over 1000 older people and people with disabilities from the West Balkans. Arriving in the UK as refugees in the 1990s following the breakup of former Yugoslavia, most are now British citizens continuing to be affected by past trauma and feeling excluded from society. BHCAC aims to improve quality of life and integration for people from West Balkan communities (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia), specifically those in poverty and isolation. The organisation works with individuals, identifying needs, supporting independence, and providing social opportunities to promote integration.
Funding from Trust for London, Renewal SRB, the Big Lottery, Lloyds Bank Foundation, City Bridge Trust, London Council, Comic Relief, Help a London Child and Brent Council helped set up and develop services which are provided to people living in the Greater London.
BHCAC supports people from the West Balkans irrespective of ethnicity, providing assistance to ethnic Roma, Bosnians, Croats, Serbs, Kosovars, Macedonians and Montenegrins. BHCAC does not exclude anyone from membership based on race, religion or any other protected characteristic. The Trustees set the annual membership fee for all members.
BHCAC has over 1000 service users a year; of whom 75% are older, and 85% disabled. The Trustees made up of between 7 and 9 elected volunteers manage the organisation.
The organisation employs two paid part-time members of staff and also uses the services of one freelance worker. A total of 20 volunteers (6 volunteering regularly and 14 volunteering occasionally) are involved in running the social club, organising events and fitness classes, helping with administrative tasks, and, on an occasional basis, accompanying beneficiaries to appointments and meetings.
BHCAC operates from premises in the London Borough of Brent, providing majority of its services in north and west London, but engages with beneficiaries across the city.