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This work was funded by Smallwood Trust.
In an image-driven world of flashy social media posts and celebrity lifestyle, it's easy to associate financial success with the most luxurious pictures of self-care. An abundance of high-end beauty products and designer home goods are nice, but for most of the world’s population, the idea of self-care is often a lot simpler. For the members of the Black British community who face discrimination because of their gender or sexual orientation, reframing self-care as financial wellbeing is a welcome change for our community of Black women, Black non-binary and Black LGBTQ+ people at My Moon Landing.
Poverty’s pervasive impact on mental health
The stresses caused by poverty can have a detrimental impact on mental health. Worry about the most fundamental needs like shelter and food can put added pressure on individuals who are simply trying to get through the day. The systemic social exclusion and inequality that so often shapes the experiences of the Black community is magnified when finances are limited. Less than 1 in 5 people from Black Caribbean and Black African backgrounds have enough savings to cover one month of living expenses. On top of that, the economic pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic and lack of job security – especially for Black youths in the workforce – can heighten feelings of helplessness and despair, especially when it comes to financial matters.
We’ve sought to demystify finances for the most underserved groups within the Black community through our financial coaching sessions and financial workshops. Through these financial resources, the My Moon Landing community has expressed optimism about growing their finances, even in the face of economic uncertainty and unequal economic outcomes for Black people.
Social pressures versus financial goals
Like the big-spender imagery on social media, young Black people looking for financial advice can be exposed to financial misinformation on digital platforms. Profiles suggesting quick fixes to wealth creation without showing the complete picture can cause feelings of confusion and comparison, which can slow down progress towards improved money management. Through our feedback and conversations with our community, we’re glad that those who have attended our financial sessions have a growing recognition that they are on their path. If they can plan and outline their steps in detail, they are closer to making their financial goals a reality.
Rather than playing the comparison game, our community members have taken the opportunity to take hold of their unique situations and navigate onward to financial growth, however that looks in their context. For some, it might be changing to another job that takes them on that next step, while for others, it could be paying off their credit card or different saving pots. There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ process to improving finances, and part of calming worries about comparisons is knowing your financial journey.
Black wealth, Black community and personal prosperity
In a year since the murder of George Floyd, much has been said about building Black wealth. What about building community through financial wellbeing? Movements like Black Pound Day seized on the moment to promote wealth generation within the Black community. These are essential movements and they are prompting necessary discussions, but we also feel that the financial wellbeing of individuals can contribute to the overall abundance and flourishing of their communities. At My Moon Landing, our vision is to see Black women, Black non-binary and Black LGBTQ+ people thrive in their communities and take up space as leaders. We must have representation in all areas of society, from Downing Street, the High Street and your street.
When the most underserved in our community have the tools to manage their finances, it has a knock-on effect on all who surround them and can truly transform their sphere of influence for the better. That’s the change we want to see.
If you are a Black woman, Black non-binary and Black LGBTQ+ interested in our free financial coaching sessions, join here.
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This work was funded by Smallwood Trust.
It’s often said that ‘money makes the world go round’, but sometimes it can be challenging to get the big picture on your spending cycles and habits when managing personal finances. Demystifying finances is especially important for some of society’s most marginalised groups because it offers a level of autonomy and certain freedoms. For these reasons and because of our mission to support Black women, non-binary and LGBTQ+ people, we’ve provided free one-to-one financial coaching sessions to members of our My Moon Landing Community. Here’s what they’ve discovered through the process.
Reaping the benefits of a financial action plan
For the 15% of Black households that operate on a persistently low-income, focusing on immediate needs or desires can sometimes take priority over long-term financial goals.
Once our My Moon Landing members are paired with a financial coach, they work together to identify financial goals and create a plan to achieve them. The plan is where the dream becomes workable because detailed processes are outlined to achieve those goals step-by-step.
Participants in the financial coaching sessions have shared how the sessions helped them consider how to plan for their futures. One participant said the sessions taught them to use precise language when thinking or talking about their future financial growth. Another said she learned to be more specific about their life goals as a result of the coaching. Similar feelings were shared by others who took part in coaching sessions, with many emphasising how the sessions prompted them to think beyond their current financial situations and make long-term planning a priority.
Coming unstuck through candid discussions about money
A recurrent theme from our coaching sessions was how financial coaching helped provide clarity when it came to money management. There’s often a sense of dread, overwhelm and mystery surrounding financial knowledge and education. One of our core aims was to make financial literacy accessible and relatable for our My Moon Landing community. Given the lack of financial inclusion for Black people in the UK, it’s essential that the financial tools are timely and relevant for participants.
Our My Moon Landing participants said the coaching sessions made financial literacy easy and simple to understand. Several participants said the time they spent with the coaches provided clarity and they praised the coaches for taking time to understand their unique financial situations. For some, the sessions provided a launchpad for helping them establish their entrepreneurial goals. Others gained clarity through the creation of a budget to guide their financial planning.
Building confidence through financial literacy
In their own words, our My Moon Landing community has benefitted from participating in these coaching sessions. A noticeable transformation from participants is the growing confidence and fearlessness associated with money. Our community has expressed intentions to be savvier with their finances and to take calculated risks where appropriate. Most importantly, issues causing mental roadblocks have been addressed, granting our community more autonomy and decisiveness in money matters. ‘It’s never too late to start or too early to begin’ has been the overarching theme in our financial coaching community feedback, and with such a go-getting attitude, we can’t wait to see how our My Moon Landing family continues to blossom as a result of these sessions,
If you are a Black woman, Black non-binary and Black LGBTQ+ interested in our free financial coaching sessions, join here.
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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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Policing is a hot-button topic on any given day, but the tragic case of Sarah Everard and the recent “Kill the Bill” protests have raised the alarm and reignited public debate about law enforcement’s role in the UK. Despite renewed discussions about policing, the perspectives of Black women, Black LGBTQ+ and Black non-binary people are often excluded from mainstream discourse even though they are more likely to be victims of crimes such as harassment and assault. To amplify these underrepresented and disproportionately affected voices, we reached out to our My Moon Landing community to find out what they thought about the state of policing in the UK.
Our conversations with our members revealed a staggering majority of largely negative experiences with the police. They recounted instances of the police committing wrongful house raids, arrests, assaults and being stopped without a valid reason - highlighting a real disconnect and fractured relationship with the police. As a result of these upsetting incidents, the My Moon Landing members described living in a hyper-vigilant state, where they are intensely afraid of interacting with the UK’s police force.
The overwhelming feeling from our community was one of fear of the very same body of people supposed to ensure their safety on the streets. They expressed concerns about unjust aggression, rough handling and the use of excessive force. And in spite of worries for their own personal safety as a marginalised group that often comes under attack, our community also shared concerns about the safety of Black men who they have witnessed being disproportionately stopped and searched by the police.
How to solve the UK’s apparent broken policing?
Without a doubt, the issue of policing is complex. But there will also be members of the UK’s law enforcement body that will feel that this representation of them is unfair. Sadly, it is the few bad experiences that people remember most. We asked our community what in their opinion can be done to fix a glaringly broken system to law and order in the UK. Unsurprisingly suggestions for improving policing were varied. Some called for increased recruitment from minority communities to foster a sense of safety for ethnic minorities, especially recruiting more Black women, LGBTQ+ or non-binary candidates. Another suggestion was for police to prioritise investigating existing crimes rather than making fresh arrests under the guise of stop and search. Although other solutions mentioned improving how the police communicate with marginalized groups and the police making public apologies for misconduct against Black people, for some, the answer isn’t one single solution. Enforcing a no-racism policy isn’t as simple as telling the police not to be racist. As a result, some people are less optimistic about solutions that would enhance feeling safe around the police.
Despite the police’s existing initiatives for improving minority relations, there’s still plenty of work to be done. Even though many debate the effectiveness of diversity, people from the My Moon Landing community still want the police to undergo personal development courses that could improve relations with the Black community.
As our government looks to the future of policing, we can't afford to relegate historically unheard voices when they are overwhelmingly affected by policing and crime. What feels like a watershed moment now is an opportunity to rethink how we approach law enforcement and ultimately make the country safer for all citizens, including the most underrepresented parts of the Black community.
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A word from Bayo Adelaja, CEO
So much has changed across the world over the past year. As an inequality focused organisation we have seen a significant rise in the need for our services, support and advocacy for the demographic of people we centre in our work, namely Black people.
We continue to be very grateful to our key partners and clients who have financially supported our work and provided access points for our beneficiaries to gain even more support than we are able to provide as a single organisation.In keeping with our belief in open innovation, we are happy to have a network of stakeholders that have seen the need for the deliberate and continued support of the Black community in the UK and across Africa.
2019-20 has been a learning year for our organisation, in terms of what we need to do for our beneficiaries, but in light of COVID, also what we need to do to ensure our organisation’s continued sustainability financially and as a deliverer of impact across under-served communities.