Mon Feb 22 2021
Voice4Change Director, Kunle Olulode, warns many of the organisations members feel disconnected during COVID
Black, Asian and other ethnic minority organisations needs are being overlooked during the coronavirus pandemic according to Kunle Oulode.
His comments came at a virtual roundtable run by the National Lottery Community Fund that was focussing on research commissioned by the NLCF which had found that 69% of people in the UK did feel part of a local community with a further 35% saying COVID had made them feel even more so.
As a national body we’ve been engaging with organisations we wouldn’t normally have connected directly with more than once or twice a year – we’re now focusing on them and their communities every week and it's brought us into a situation where we are closer to our regional partners. But he for many members their experience is of a London focus in a lot of funders’ efforts, and feeling that, as regions, they are in some way left out of the picture. For example when the Covid-19 infection rate rose dramatically in north-west England last year organisations in the north-west found themselves under pressures that weren’t being picked up in other parts of the country. The interesting thing is that if you talk to BAME leaders on this call, very few of them have been contacted by central and local government to be part of it. So despite all the rhetoric about how things have developed more positively, there seems to be a repeat of patterns of how things have been experienced in the past by BAME organisations. But charities needed to hold on to what they had learned about themselves and how they operate during the Covid-19 crisis when they were engaging in the political arena.
I think there is a potential here to make new demands and to rethink how we also make those demands that we are just beginning to look at.
Naz Zaman, chief exec of the Lancashire BME network added that:
BAME-led regional organisations have been in the premier league where it comes to disproportionate impact of Covid-19. The figure that seven out of 10 people currently felt connected with their communities doesn’t resonate with her organisation’s experiences in Lancashire. Many people felt less connected to their communities because they had previously connected physically and were currently unable to do so. I can’t see that improving because the longer that goes on, these communities are feeling more and more isolated, because there is no physical connection, and ‘building back better’ is a long way in the future as far as I’m concerned.
Mon Feb 22 2021