Inclusive Exeter has its roots in the Exeter Communities Together project which came about following a mapping exercise identifying and exploring the activities of Exeter’s BAME communities. The exercise found numerous BAME communities in the city, some small, some large, some constituted, some operating as small community associations, all of them supported by enthusiastic and industrious volunteers. The Exeter Communities Together project brought seven of these communities together and in June 2019 they began delivering a three year plan of events, celebrating their respective cultures and inviting the wider community to participate.
Inclusive Exeter CIC, formerly known as Exeter Communities Together CIC, was incorporated as a small membership community interest company in July 2019, a single structure intended to sustain our partners’ activities and further better understanding with the wider community.
In November 2019 we took on the running of Exwick Community Centre. In our first few months at the Centre we developed good relationships with our users but we had to close once the COVID-19 hit and activities were stopped. This closure did not prevent Inclusive Exeter from being an active force for good. Within days of the first national lockdown being announced, Inclusive Exeter brought together over thirty volunteers who delivered our Coronavirus Hardship Relief Project. This was a much needed project delivering cooked and frozen ready meals to anyone adversely affected by the pandemic. This included people who were shielding, elderly persons, those with a disability or underlying health condition, health care workers and people facing financial difficulties. In addition to the meals we were able to offer beneficiaries ambient food items thanks to support from FareShare and local supermarkets.
The pandemic has brought to mainstream attention many issues faced by BAME people before the pandemic. Inclusive Exeter is addressing these through our projects, i.e. our Coronavirus Hardship Relief Project, our Drop-In Support and our Physical Activities (see Our Projects).