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In this spotlight article we are shining a light on Common Call grantee, Equality 4 Black Nurses.
Many Black and Ethnic Minority nurses have long experienced racism and discrimination in their work, with conversations of their experiences typically shared in private. In 2019 it was reported that 17 per cent of nurses experienced workplace discrimination and racism, from their manager, team leader and sometimes colleagues. This percentage rose by 1.3 per cent from the previous year and has been on the rise every year (WRES 2019 & 2020 report).
As infection rates of COVID climbed throughout 2020, along with the rapid rate at which people were being hospitalised, many nurses stepped forward to help contain the virus. From student nurses being drafted in early to assist as well as retired nurses, numerous heroic healthcare professionals put their own lives at risk in order to save the hundreds of thousands of lives endangered by this little understood virus. Shockingly, many of these selfless professionals were on the receiving end of vile racist abuse from patients and internal discrimination, while risking their lives on the frontline.
Within the wider nursing community there has a been an overwhelming response to the racism and discrimination experienced by nurses prior to and during the pandemic, with many completely fed up with their treatment. In response to this maltreatment, as well as the George Floyd murder and the subsequent Black Lives Matter movement, Neomi Bennett set up Equality 4 Black Nurses. The registered Nurse Practitioner founded the organisation in 2020 to ‘bring about positive change by lobbying employers and government to reduce and eradicate racial discrimination in the healthcare sector.’
Neomi tells us: “Although there are equality, diversity and inclusion measures in place within the NHS to protect nurses and patients from racism, unfortunately it seems that those people who are in charge of NHS departments lack the knowledge, expertise and insight to recognise what racism is and its impact on the individual.
Equality 4 Black Nurses has discovered the uncomfortable truth that “racism within the NHS has become embedded within the organisation’s culture and normalized so much that racist behaviours such as microaggressions, gaslighting and bullying has become part of the British healthcare institution.”
The percentage of nurses who have experienced racism and discrimination while caring for the sick during the pandemic has yet to be officially documented, but individual experiences are being reported constantly via social media and through anecdotes told in group chats. One such example is that of the daughter of a nurse, who two months ago tweeted a screengrab of racialized language used by a hiring practice nurse towards her mother. The tweet has been liked over 51 thousand times and has generated thousands of comments of support for her mum, as well as people with their own stories on how racism in the NHS has impacted their own lives. One student nurse tells of her experiences of racism from not just patients but also her lecturers.
Commenting on the incident, Neomi says: “We need accountability, and we would like to see the nurse who was responsible for the written content to be struck off the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register and for her employers to sack her without notice for gross misconduct. They pose a risk to Black patients and in a nursing environment this could prove fatal, as their actions could be the difference between life and death for a Black patient. The measures the NHS needs to employ to protect Black nurses is to allow Equality 4 Black Nurses to deliver our tailored training package, which considers unconscious bias, microaggressions, cultural awareness and Black nurses lived experiences.”
The support that nurses such as Neomi and institutions like Equality 4 Black Nurses provide for their fellow professionals is vital, offering a safe space for nurses to share their experiences. It is essential that as a community we continue to support Black-led organisations which look after and care for those who take care of us. It is why we continue to support Black people with lived experience of key issues like this so that they can continue to tackle issues that shouldn’t be part of their working lives.
We are proud funders of Equality 4 Black Nurses and we look forward to the deeply rooted impact they will accomplish in the years to come.
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As an open innovation organisation, Do it Now Now is consistently seeking to create and draw from research across the UK to contextualise our understanding of the challenges of the people we support as we design programmes and initiatives to help reduce the barriers they face, whether structural or institutional.
Black people in Britain face insurmountable challenges improving their social standing in society. Despite attempts to navigate the systemic barriers, their contribution to society is perpetually undermined, which has a serious impact on financial security and quality of life in the Black community. Through our work, we equip the most marginalised groups within the Black community with the resources and knowledge to navigate the societal pressures they may face.
Discrimination in the workplace and during the hiring process restricts the career opportunities and growth of Black people, leading to underemployment, unemployment and disenfranchisement. This is one of the causes of financial hardship within the Black community and the recent unemployment figures suggest this stark trend will continue to disproportionately affect young Black people entering the workforce. We believe that supporting Black people in entrepreneurship and social enterprise gives them the autonomy to create wealth and facilitate job creation in their communities and beyond.
The Black community is a leader in volunteering and shows a desire to participate in local decision-making and many Black-led organisations provide an avenue for community members to exercise their civic participation. However without proper funding these community led organisations cannot afford to properly resource themselves or remunerate their staff. Effective core funding for place-based Black-led social enterprises and charities is an untapped opportunity to create and safeguard employment opportunities in economically deprived areas across the country.
Black people are disproportionately affected by the criminal justice system in Britain and this trend is emblematic of the systemic injustices experienced by Black people in the UK. We have sought to bring some attention to the framing of young Black people in conversations about rising rates of violence in terms of causation rather than correlation. Over the next year we are interested in working with organisations in the youth sector on a framework that places unlocking the untapped potential of Black young people at the centre of their key performance indicators.
The health inequities experienced by Black people are reflective of the broader social disparities we face, unfortunately leading to increased morbidity during the pandemic. As a result of the pandemic, despite a lack of disposable income, Black-led organisations have pivoted to online mechanisms to deliver services to their community at this unsettling time. During the pandemic many Black led organisations have been dealing with a significant increase in demand for their services while remaining understaffed and underfunded to carry out this crucial work.
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As an open innovation organisation, Do it Now Now is consistently seeking to create and draw from research across the UK to contextualise our understanding of the challenges of the people we support as we design programmes and initiatives to help reduce the barriers they face whether structural or institutional.
In this document we are laying out the statistics we have pulled from published research that is specific to the experiences of the Black community across the UK.
Black people account for 3% of the British population, just under 2 million people, yet we disproportionately experience social and economic inequality across multiple areas such as employment, education, criminal justice and more on a daily basis.
Our work across initiatives such as My Moon Landing, Black and Good, Voltage Revolution and Common Call has given us a deeply rooted perspective of the real effects of structurally and institutionally perpetuated inequalities that Black people are experiencing across the UK. Thankfully, these inequalities have spurred on the civic action of altruistic people with lived experience to create impact focused organisations that offer practical assistance and support to other Black people facing similar challenges in their own communities.
Our CEO, Bayo Adelaja, says: “over the past year I have been inspired time and again by the fantastic people that make up our community. Black people across the UK are grappling with challenges that are far beyond their individual control, wading through the institutional and structural challenges that come with being Black in Britain with passion and presence of mind to make a difference, through the organisations they lead, in the communities they live, in their families and friendship groups. I am better off for knowing our community members. We should all be so lucky as to come in contact with the resiliency exhibited each and every day by Black people living in local communities in the UK.”
What are the specific challenges Black people face and what does the research say about it? Our 2020/21 factsheet answers those questions, revealing data, trends and insights on the social, political and economic factors that limit Black people and Black-led organisations in the UK.
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The exceptionally difficult challenges that pervaded 2020 further highlighted the importance of our work as demand continued to rise and the depth of support needed became more and more apparent with each passing day.
As an organisation, we are committed to the empowerment of Black people and this year we have hit the ground running on the mandate. We have continued to make strides in our mission to deliver the best support we can to the people most in need of our help within the Black community and the Black-led organisations that have more immediate access and understanding of the local issues that may compound and intensify their specific needs.
The following is a roundup of our work over the last quarter. 2021 has been an exciting year so far, with over 2000 unique individuals receiving at least 1 hour of training support either in a group setting or through a 1-2-1. Approximately 10% of them received more than 3 hours of support and 6.5% of them received more than 6 hours of support.
As part of our mandate to continually empower Black people, we have continued championing the causes of Black communities by empowering individuals within those local communities to speak up and trust us to convey the message clearly.
Our community members have lent their voices to key reports and articles that helped us realise the severity of funding support needed by Black-led charities and social enterprises who self-fund approximately 60% of the money they spend on keeping their organisation available to their communities. Black women, Black LGBTQ+ and Black non-binary people shared theri stories of fear and trauma with us when we asked them about their experiences of policing in the UK.
We continue to actively engage in open innovation by bringing community members together in focus groups that are enriching for them and helpful for us as we continue our community-first approach to co-production of all our community offerings.
2021 Q1 Impact Summary
Here are a couple of quotes from our community members:
"Thank you very much for your time and expertise. It's the best financial advice I've received so far - I feel much better and can see a path to success - I've already been singing your praises! Keep up the good work Caroline. It makes such a difference. I'll definitely pay it forward." - a community member after a 1-2-1 with one of our expert financial coaches.
“This session helped reinforce my need to focus on strategy. It's easy to get stuck in the day to day but it's important to have a birds eye view, in addition to having input from your beneficiaries and partners. Then using that data to create a long term plan that keeps you focussed. This is one of my core priorities at the moment. Thank you to Ugo and the team for a great Core 1 programme.” - a community member who leads a social enterprise after a group training session about Strategy
We are so encouraged by the feedback and in-session comments made by our community members.
Commenting on the impact the innovation programmes are having, our Head of Innovation, Caroline Komuhangi shares: “The recruitment of participants across our programmes has been steady, with increased uptake in the My Moon Landing and Black and Good programmes. The coaching sessions have been a hit with the participants and there is a lot of interest in follow up sessions. In addition, we are thankful to the high calibre of experts that have joined us so far this year. We’re looking forward to growing our participation levels in the next quarter.”
Our external training and consultancy work has also been growing over the last few months. Recognition for our work in the open innovation and social impact space has led to training and consultancy contracts with a number of organisations including:
At this point in our financial year, which begins in October of each year, we have secured £1.03M in total funding to support our community and develop stronger mechanisms to sustain our impact and growth in the coming years. Our major funders include:
Ana Bradley, our Director of Digital Communications shares: “In Q1, our goal was to grow the communities of the DiNNHQ core programmes, primarily through organic reach. We successfully grew our digital community by 4,350 people, achieved 650,000 impressions, and maintained a good engagement rate of 2% across organic campaigns. In the first 3 months of 2021 alone, we have engaged with 12,382 people online (likes, follows, comments, retweets).”
Ana continues, “We’re continually evaluating our strategies so that we can engage with each specific community through their platform of choice. For example, we discovered that some target users prefer YouTube, others use Twitter more and some use a combination of platforms. Our goal in Q2 is to grow our audience as well as engagement rates, while continuing to share the opportunities available on our programmes with potential and existing users.”
During Q1, we wrote and shared a number of blog posts across each program, including reactive comments on key news stories such as the Race Report, the murder of Sarah Everard (thoughts on safety from our My Moon Landing community) and many others.
Do it Now Now was also featured in a number of articles and reports, allowing us to add our voice to the wider conversation on social justice and inclusion for the Black community. In Q1 we were featured by:
In the past few months we have grown significantly, going far beyond the figures stated above. We have significantly strengthened our relationship with our community members, we have continued and strengthened our organisational culture and we have clarified the vision for this organisation in a post-pandemic world, committed to growing our impact with breadth and depth, sensibly and boldly.
We are truly grateful to each individual that has trusted us with their story, their time and their own expertise as they support us and each other.
We’ll report again at the end of Q2.
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Announcing our new factsheet: employment trends, income and civic participation of the UK’s Black population
Our recent research highlighted the social and economic factors that drove the creation of Black-led organisations in Britain. The social, political and economic forces that shape the experiences of these community organisations provides a body of insights that cannot be ignored, and we are excited to unveil a factsheet summing up our key findings.
Our factsheet contains data on employment trends, income, education and how civic participation uniquely impacts the Black community. These statistics help to illustrate the experiences familiar to Black-led organisations and their beneficiaries.
It is no simple feat to deliver impactful services while facing the same inequalities you are fighting against. It is our hope and aim to support these vital community groups as they work hard to remove these inequalities.
We hope these findings give you a better understanding of the complex backdrop of Black-led organisations and the communities they support. With deeper understanding of what is faced by the Black community, we can bring tangible change for some of the most underrepresented impact organisations in the UK.
If you would like to receive a copy of the factsheet, please sign up for our newsletter.
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The social landscape of the UK is constantly evolving, as our upcoming 2021 Census will soon show. Many Black-led impact groups within the UK exist to address the social and economic needs of their communities; and in the run-up to our factsheet about Black-led organisations, we explore the social and civic matters that make them a necessity.
Whether it’s youth empowerment, immigrant community gatherings, or professional groups, the organisations we’ve engaged with all serve a specific focus and purpose that would otherwise be missing from the lives of their end-users. Through our conversations with these organisations, we’ve learned how a small social enterprise can evolve into a local pillar of support for people within the community.
The trust and recognition earned from an organisation’s existence are sometimes enough to give its community a seat at the local governance level. As a result, groups can participate in meetings that influence policymaking at a local level. For the UK’s Black population, it’s an opportunity to serve the community and make their voice heard in the corridors of power.
The recent Community Life Survey, which ‘tracks developments in areas that are important to encouraging social action and empowering communities’, showed that 45% of Black respondents said they felt like they could affect decision-making in their communities. This includes in areas such as wellbeing, volunteering and civic engagement. However, only 1 in 10 Black people get involved with local decision-making which means Black people are underrepresented at the local governance level. The inclusion of Black-led impact organisations in governance gives people an avenue to share their perspectives and build a record of influence within a local community.
One way Black-led organisations grow is through volunteer positions. According to government statistics almost 1 in 4 Black people (24%) volunteer, meaning there’s an appetite for people to engage in public service. Black-led social enterprises and charities are in the unique position of having access to beneficiaries who can also double as volunteers if they so wish. As a result, there’s growing scope for Black-led to build a community that involves end-users and volunteers who also have lived experience related to a particular organisation’s services.
We describe these trends and more in our upcoming fact sheet about Black-led organisations. If you’d like to receive a copy when it launches, please sign up for our newsletter.
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The influence of societal and economic forces shape how Black-led impact organisations deliver their services within their communities; often adversely impacting their capacity to truly help those they are trying to serve. If we want to support Black-led charities and social enterprises, we need to understand how they work. We need to learn how different societal factors affect their work. In anticipation of our upcoming factsheet on Black-led organisations, we discuss how employment and personal earnings impact Black organisations.
Through Common Call, we surveyed 500 organisations and found that Black-led organisations are primarily funded with personal savings and income from employment. 60% of the organisations we surveyed said these were their sources of organisational income.
The racial wage gap also contributes to the inability of Black-led organisations to fund their services. The average hourly pay for Black people is lower than the national average in the UK. Black people in the UK typically earn less compared to White British workers, and Black households are more likely to be on persistently lower incomes excluding household costs. According to the government’s annual English Housing Survey, Black households are the most likely out of all ethnic groups to have a weekly income less than £400 per week.
Only 4 in 10 Black-led organisations receive any grant income to fund their work, and the average annual income for an organisation totals £32,700. When you consider this information with the economic and employment-related figures, it highlights the additional strain Black impact organisations face.
These issues are further exacerbated when Black organisations want to scale to meet growing demand. Over half of Black-led organisations self-identify as needing more training to strengthen financial modelling (53%) and improve social impact measurement (51%). One-third need support with increasing income that’s not grant-based (35%). These organisations understand precisely how they can better serve their community – they just need the funds to make those visions a reality.
Our aim is to help Black-led organisations redress the inequality and lack of resources, tools and skills they face in the UK, and to do that, we need to understand the range of challenges they face on a deeper level. These impact organisations do not live in a vacuum. They’re addressing societal issues while facing inequities too. To help Black-led organisations thrive, we need to support their growth and build a civil society that caters to the specific needs of underrepresented communities in the UK.
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