“Coming to the RCCT Hub is like oxygen for me.”

Romania Culture and Charity Together (RCCT), founded in 2018 and based in North London, is dedicated to supporting the Romanian community to assist, signpost and create opportunities.

As a social enterprise, the organisation develops and delivers programmes and projects, supporting children, young people, families and vulnerable adults.

RCCT began as a result of witnessing the first-hand difficulties people within the community encountered. Since their formation, they have created a bridge between the community and local authorities, becoming a place for reliable information and support.

Since the beginning of Covid, RCCT has been supporting over 200 people each month. They have helped with food, advice and emotional support. Helping form a sense of community for the vulnerable, homeless, isolated, and those with no support network. Dorina Poenaru and her team of wonderful volunteers have been going the extra mile for those they support, becoming a lifeline for many. One of the families being helped by RCCT is:

Alina, a mother of two boys (11 and 13 years old), does not have a support network and knew very little English. At the start of lockdown, Alina and her children were destitute. RCCT have provided her and the family with invaluable aid and support. They helped her navigate through Universal Credit and rent arrears. In addition, they have emotionally supported her. She has been able to speak to someone in her language about her fears and the emotional toll of isolation with no support.

Alina soon became a regular visitor to the RCCT hub, where she began volunteering, giving her a sense of purpose and friendship she had not previously experienced. By being involved and helping other vulnerable people, she has been able to get her mind off her worries. She is immensely grateful for the support and friendship she has received from RCCT.

Sergiu was a bricklayer up until November 2019. He suffered a stroke which rendered him unemployed and eventually homeless. He has since suffered a further four strokes. These undoubtedly have been brought on through the stress of being unemployed and homeless at 48, leaving him disabled. The hospital would like to offer him rehabilitation but cannot as a result of him being homeless without a fixed address. Once Sergiu learnt of RCCT and the support they provide to Romanian citizens in Harrow from a stranger, he got in contact with Sergiu with a smile on his face, expressed:

“Coming to the RCCT Hub is like oxygen for me.”

RCCT have been able to support Sergiu with food and emotional support but are in the process of finding a solution for him being homeless.

Victoria (a 14-year-old girl) and her single-parent mum both experienced difficulty during the Covid crisis. Her mother stopped working due to being in the hospitality industry, which was affected by the lockdown restrictions. Additionally, they had both contracted Covid early on in the lockdown, resulting in them unable to buy essential items.

Before the crisis, they were made aware of RCCT through Victoria’s school, helping them since. The support they have received before and during these challenging times from RCCT has been immensely helpful for both. Not only has Victoria been supported on an emotional level. Once she recovered from Covid, she began volunteering at the RCCT Hub, a support system to socialise. Her mother is now back at her work and is not worried about her daughter being lonely, and Victoria has begun a new school year with renewed confidence and fewer worries.

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