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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 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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Even before the pandemic, Black young people were often discriminated against based on their ethnicity during the recruitment processes. With a reduction in available employment due to Covid battering the economy, the grim reality was that this discrimination would get worse and the new briefing by The Resolution Foundation sadly confirms this. Its research found that prior to the pandemic, ‘25% of economically active Black 16-24 year-olds were unemployed, compared to 10% of their White counterparts.’ The unemployment rate among Black young people is now 34% compared to 13% among White young people.
These findings don’t surprise us. Every single one of the young people we work with have been economically impacted by the pandemic and are currently struggling to find work. On average, they have been unemployed for 7 months before engaging with us and 90% self-report as feeling overwhelmed and pessimistic about the future. 60% of them also state that they do not have relationships with people in the careers they are interested in engaging with, leaving them unprepared for a competitive job market in their chosen field.
We believe to improve employment prospects for young people during and after the Covid-19 crisis, we need to work with them directly to empower them to give voice to their experiences and aspirations. With the Resolution Foundation highlighting that 16-24 year-olds account for the biggest share of those finding themselves unemployed in the last year (57%), there is an urgent need to find new solutions to tackle this head on. It is already having a significant impact on the mental health of young people, with relatively low numbers of Black young people seeking help - and it is worrying what lasting effect it could have for all young people.
One of the ways we have been working to address this crisis is through our Voltage Revolution programme. We are proud to have been funded by STRIDE, a collective of London’s Southwark, Lewisham, Lambeth and Wandsworth boroughs, to support 18-24-year-old Black people who are not currently in employment, education, or training. Through our 6 month in-depth programme they will engage in a research-based, community-created support programme that is truly fit for purpose; closing the unemployment gap for Black young people.
The creative and digital economies are vital to the UK, with employment in the creative sector growing by a third between 2011 and 2017 and 50% faster than the wider economy. In London, where the majority of the UK’s Black population live, creative/digital workers are also more productive than the average London worker and account for 1 in 6 jobs in the capital.
Voltage Revolution is a six month part-time training programme that will support young people to gain the digital and creative skills needed to get a job in one of London's best-paid industries. The trainees on the program will learn and gain new skills in audio and video engineering, web development, visual and design, content marketing as well as the transferable skills they need to get a job and progress in employment. They will also have the opportunity to be mentored by leaders and experts in the field and a two-week paid placement through which they will get to use their new skills to contribute to local charities and social enterprises in their local areas.
Commenting on the Resolution Foundation’s briefing, Yoanna Chikezie, our Innovation Manager, running Voltage Revolution, said:
“The feedback we have received from the young people in the Voltage Revolution program shows that young Black people feel that despite their talent, ambition and commitment to building their skills and abilities to pursue aspirations to work in the digital and creative sectors, they will have to work twice as hard as their white counterparts to achieve the same goal. Undoubtedly the pandemic has widened the gap and many employers have had to downsize, but young Black people feel that the pandemic is being used as an excuse to not hire them.”