Walsall Black Sisters Collective (WBSC) was launched in 1987 by a group of young woman who campaigned to raise the profile of females from ethnic minorities in the town due to concerns over employment and education issues. But has developed into a thriving service for all communities.
The registered charity will be holding its 35th anniversary gala bash on March 5 with entertainment by TV's Angie, of The Real MCoy fame, there will be a keynote speech by BBC Midlands Today news reader Nicola Beckford at the event due to be hosted by radio presenter and Baggies fan Nikki Tapper.
Black Sisters chief officer Maureen Lewis explains: "The collective has evolved into an organisation that responds to the needs of vulnerable communities in Walsall, not just for the black and ethnic communities, but services that will target support to everyone in need, regardless of the social status, or ethnic origin.
"This has been quite evident during the Covid-19 pandemic and the successful support that was provided across the borough through our Covid Survival Project.
"It means a lot to be celebrating our 35th anniversary from humble beginnings. We acknowledge the group of young women who back in 1986 saw the vision to start an organisation to make a difference and improve the lives of disadvantaged people in Walsall.
"They included the late Yvonne Salmon, along with Jennifer Blake, Pat Houslin and others. We salute and say thank you to them all.
"In March we will be celebrating this great achievement with special guest speakers and personalities, women of inspiration who in their own right has impacted many lives in the industries they serve. There will also be entertainment and much more."
Based at the Mayfield Workshops, in Wednesbury Road, the group has operated throughout the pandemic by delivering hot meals and other services to isolated families across the borough.
Over the decades its successes have included a popular senior citizens' day centre operated at the Lighthouse Restaurant, in Caldmore Road; a Saturday school providing extra lessons, counselling, mentoring and mental health drop-in sessions and an after-school club.
Accolades have included the Women's International Award for Community Innovation at the 1991 Birmingham Women's Festival, and a centre representative being invited to a reception at Downing Street by former Prime Minster Tony Blair due to the centre's work with schools to raise standards among in 1998.
The anniversary ball will be held at WS10 Conference & Banqueting Centre, Holyhead Road, Wednesbury, at 6.30pm and tickets cost £35-£50 and are now available via eventbrite.co.uk/e/walsall-black-sisters-collective-35th-anniversary-ball-tickets-203738285697