Manager of the African Caribbean Community Initiative (ACCI) speaks with Poppy Brady about its refreshing approach.
IT’S ONE of only a handful of black mental health services still standing in Britain today but as the African Caribbean Community Initiative (ACCI) gears up to celebrate its 30th anniversary, this highly respected, multi-award winning centre remains as committed as ever to serving its community.
Back in 1987, the Wolverhampton Rastafarian Progressive Association laid its initial foundations out of concern at the disproportionate number of Rastafarian men in the psychiatric wards of Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital.
Three decades later and the ACCI has been a cornerstone for an unrivalled range of preventative, educational, housing and support services for thousands of people who are seen as ‘members’ not ‘clients’ or ‘service users.’
Working with and in the community since 1987
The ACCI has championed every kind of setback since 1987 to retain the welcoming, family-style, homely, vibe that every visitor warms to when they walk through the door. There’s nothing clinical there – just a wonderful smell of cooking and peals of laughter coming from one of the offices.
So how has it survived and thrived? Alicia Spence has been manager for 23 out of ACCI’s 30 years, but the modest, unflappable nurse with specialisms in mental health and learning disability, is adamant that it’s not down to her. When approached by The Voice for an interview, Mrs Spence insisted: