Evidence shows that COVID-19 has a greater impact on black and brown people in terms of fatality, financial losses and other social impacts. A new collective of BAME-led charitable organisations in the county is arguing for more philanthropic investment in grassroots activity serving these communities.
Oxford city has a higher proportion of ethnically diverse people than the UK as a whole, with 22% of people coming from a BAME background as compared with the 13% England average. With recent studies showing that that there has been a historic under-investment in black and minority ethnic-led organisations nationwide, local charities were keen to understand what they could do to ensure fair and equitable investment in Oxfordshire communities.
A collective of BAME-led charities was formed in the summer of 2020. With the support of UK Community Foundations, Oxfordshire Community Foundation, Oxfordshire County Council, Active Oxfordshire and OCVA, this group carried out a consultation process with 84 people representing 40 BAME-led charities and community groups, which uncovered their focus activities, successes and challenges.
The report coming out of this research has now been published and can be viewed here.
The report reveals a BAME charitable sector that is delivering urgently needed, targeted and culturally coherent support within its communities, but that is significantly under-resourced. Organisations surveyed were overwhelmingly focused on supporting women and families with mental health, education, and mentoring projects, providing culturally sensitive support on issues like FGM, food poverty and domestic violence.
However, access to funding was cited as one of the biggest barriers to the groups and organisations achieving their aims, and one of the biggest reflections of the racial injustice and inequity between white-led and black-led third sector groups and organisations. 46% of respondents said they struggle with writing bids and proposals for the funding they need to run these vital projects.
One respondent comments: “My generation, especially the BAME group, are struggling so much. We need unity, and start-up groups like me have no-one to ask for advice. I saw that my community was struggling and blindly went in, learning along the way. I wish I had a mentor or some support.”
Jacqui Gitau, Co-founding Director of African Families in the UK and the report’s author, says: “Most of the local BAME-led organisations rely on volunteers to carry out sometimes life-saving work. It is assumed that goodwill will sustain these projects, yet when other groups provide similar activities, they tend to be financially appreciated. Our work in this area suggests the need for more focused investment and other support for groups working with black and brown communities.”
The research revealed almost unanimous support from those consulted for an umbrella organisation that would advocate for BAME-led charitable groups. This infrastructure organisation will provide ‘one voice’, making a unified case for greater funding and other support for these under-represented organisations. The group will be holding a community feedback day on 4th December to consult further, with venue and details to be announced.
To get involved or find out more, please contact the group at email@example.com.