What is SARI?
We’re a charitable organisation that’s here to support victims of hate within our community. We also aim to promote equality and good relations between people with protected characteristics, as defined by law.
Most of our people have some direct experience of facing hate-motivated behaviour. We all have a clear understanding of what SARI is trying to achieve. Our Board of Trustees is responsible for approving SARI’s working policies and procedures. Most of them also have personal experience of hate crime and inequality.
Our employees are mostly engaged in casework, supporting victims of hate crime. But they also work with children, young people and schools and other education establishments, providing support to pupils facing racist and other hate incidents. We also deliver anti-hate, equality, diversity and inclusion, and cultural awareness sessions to pupils, staff and governors. Our work also extends to young offenders.
Before the formation of SARI, the victims of racism in Bristol received no coordinated response or specialist support from agencies. In 1988, a steering group was set up. Bristol Racial Equality Council, United Housing Association and the Inner City Mental Health Team began working in consultation with victims of racial harassment and community leaders.
A management committee was formed to secure funding, and with the support of a Home Office Safer Cities Grant, SARI was established, becoming fully operational in 1991. Then, it employed a full-time project manager and caseworker as well as a part-time administrator. In that first year, 44 cases were referred to us.
SARI was largely the vision of Black and Minority Ethnic housing provider United Housing Association and its first chair Sohail Elahi. He carried out that role from 1991-1996 after being heavily involved with the rest of the steering group and the pioneering work that led to the creation of SARI.
Whilst Sohail is no longer directly involved with SARI, he remains very involved in our work. He’s extremely proud to see what his vision has become, and the great work that SARI continues to do. Sohail says his work with SARI is one of his greatest achievements and is honoured to be recognised as one of the founding fathers of this organisation.
Another person who was instrumental in our organisation is visionary Director, Batook Pandya. He took us on a journey from a small organisation based in one room of the Coach House, to an award-winning charity based in Portland Square. His death in 2014 was a personal loss to us all, but he will be remembered as the bravest and most committed leader for improving race equality – and conveying to us all just how destructive racism and inequality is.
Batook represented all that SARI stands for – to be brave, to speak out, to work tirelessly and to challenge the very structures that are in place to protect us when they fail. Soon after his death, Alex Raikes and Agnes Yeomans stepped up to take on the challenge of being the new Co-Directors, pledging to continue all the incredible work Batook did for our organisation.
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Our Mailing Address
PO Box 2454