Black Ethnic Minority Senior Citizens Association
Building Friendships That Last
Bath Ethnic Minority Senior Citizens Association (BEMSCA) was established in September 1993 initially to provide a luncheon club service for older members of the Caribbean, Asian and Chinese communities within Bath and North East Somerset. BEMSCA offers space where older people can meet and socialise with people from similar ethnic backgrounds to themselves.
They can also access advice and information on a broad range of health, housing and welfare issues which can be a life line for people who do not speak English as their first language.
Over the last 29 years, BEMSCA has introduced new services including an outreach programme which works with members who are unable to leave their homes because of the health or disability. Through the employment of part time project workers (servicing the Chinese and Asian Communities) plus a team of volunteers, BEMSCA provides practical and emotional support for around 200 members facing life of isolation and loneliness at home.
The COVID pandemic had a significant impact on BEMSCA services and the way we could support our members. Our weekly day-care provision and lunch club stopped as Fairfield House was closed to meet social distancing regulations.
This led to more services in the community including
a new food hub, preparing and delivering cooked food to people homes
weekly visits to Bristol to purchase specialist ethnic foods for members and their families.
weekly telephone calls and home visits to ensure member felt supported during the pandemic.
Provision of iPads and training so members could improve online skills for shopping, banking, downloading entertainment and staying in touch with friends and family.
Launch of a new mental health focused service supporting members and the wider community deal with social isolation, homelessness, bereavement and concerns about the pandemic.
Providing information about the COVID-19 vaccination and ensuring staff and members could benefit from the vaccines and booster programme.
BEMSCA at Fairfield House
Bath Ethnic Minority Senior Citizens Association is based at Fairfield House in Newbridge, Bath.
It is the former home of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, during the period of exile in the years from 1936 -1940. Members of the Ethiopian Royal family lived at Fairfield House up to 1943 and then the house served as a home for orphaned children during WW2 and shortly after.
In 1954 His Imperial Majesty returned to Fairfield House once again and during this visit was made an Honorary Freeman of the City of Bath. In 1958 he decided to gift Fairfield House to the City for the benefit of the people of Bath and specifically the Aged people of the City.
Until 1993 Fairfield House was a residential care home until new room size requirements made it unsuitable for such use.
From then it has been used as a day centre by a number of groups including the Bath Ethnic Minority Senior Citizens' Association (BEMSCA) who have been resident at Fairfield House since 1993.
BEMSCA over the years has often been involved in the wider community activities which take place at Fairfield House due to the Emperor's great legacy and sometimes great amounts of staff time were taken up with these activities being hosted at Fairfield House, today BEMSCA works closely with Fairfield House Bath CIC so that we can continue to prioritise the elderly day care whilst the legacy of His Imperial Majesty in Bath is preserved and protected by Fairfield House Bath Community Interest Company.