Queen’s Park Community Organisation (QPCO) has appointed three new part-time staff as intervention officers, thanks to a £42,000 grant from the Harpur Trust.
The ‘Three Mousquetaires’ – Fsella Afzal-Pagliari, June Kuria and Chiara Mac Call – will give free advice to help residents access services, give help in emergency situations and provide a multi-lingual service.
The new roles have been made possible with the support of the Harpur Trust, Kingsbrook and Caldwell Big Local fund and BPHA.
“We’ve seen some fantastic neighbourhood initiatives to provide mutual support emerge through the course of the pandemic, and watched our friends at QPCO grow to meet the needs of people affected most by the health and financial impacts of this crisis,” said the Harpur Trust’s Lucy Bardner.
“We were delighted to support them with a grant of £42,000 from our Covid 19 fund to expand their team delivering 1:1 support to local residents facing a range of pandemic related difficulties.
“We look forward to working with them to learn more about the community’s needs.”
QPCO were proud of what they had achieved with their volunteers, but felt that the time was right to apply for resources to deliver meaningful change in Bedford.
“It was the logical step for us,” said QPCO’s Marie-Ange Comerford-Raillon.
“We are delighted to have the backing of wonderful organisations like the Harpur Trust and BPHA. We are also delighted to announce that we have become an official partner with the Kingsbrook & Caudwell Big Local.
“QPCO is also keen to be a model employer bucking the trend in the third sector with good terms and condition, home and flexible working policies in keeping with the ethics of the organisation and green credentials.”
Each of the new intervention officers has told the Bedford Independent what the job means to them.
Chiara Mac Call, intervention officer
“I met QPCO while documenting Bedford’s response to the pandemic. I was struck by the dynamism and commitment of QPCO’s volunteers to making a difference to people in their own community.
“It was clear to me that their grassroots approach and the investment they have made in building trust across diverse communities was enabling them to reach people who would otherwise have fallen through the net.
“When the opportunity arose to join the organisation, I leapt at it.”
Fsella Afzal-Pagliari, intervention officer
“I applied for the post as I am passionate about making a difference in people’s lives and finding practical ways to support and enhance the lives of people facing complex life situations.
“I have been engaged in various roles and projects supporting and working within BAME communities in Bedford. I am the co-founder of Khush Haal, a local wellbeing group established in collaboration with MIND in 2018 to support disadvantaged women from South Asian backgrounds and founder and chair of Fitnisa, a community group established in 2014 to offer women’s keep fit classes targeting hard to reach BAME groups.
“I have also volunteered for Bedford Council of Faiths and Al-Mizan Saturday school as well as being a long-standing member of the QPCO committee.”
June Kuria, intervention officer
“I have been part of the Queen’s Park Community Organisation (formerly Queen’s Park Community Orchard) since 2015.
“I was thoroughly impressed with the work ethic of this voluntary organisation, something that I had not seen in any of the five organisations I was volunteering for at the same time.
“One of the main things that really attracted me to QPCO is the diversity of the group and I felt like I belonged there.”
To contact the QPCO intervention team: Chiara: 07824045181; June: 07824045185; Fsella: 07824045182; Email: QPCO.firstname.lastname@example.org