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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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Do it Now Now is pleased to announce that our CEO, Bayo Adelaja has been appointed as a Trustee at Cancer Research UK, joining a distinguished governing council at the world’s leading cancer charity. As part of her role, Bayo will work with the charity’s governing council to monitor the delivery of Cancer Research UK’s objectives, uphold its values and governance guide and support the Chief Executive and Senior Management Team in achieving the charity’s vision and purpose.
Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Chairman of Cancer Research UK, said: “I am delighted to welcome Bayo to our governing Council. Her extensive expertise in operational development and strategic planning, particularly around equality, diversity and inclusion, makes her a hugely valuable addition to the charity. I am excited at the prospect of working with her more closely.”
In addition to her new appointment as Trustee of Cancer Research UK, Bayo also sits on Access The Foundation for Social Investment’s Flexible Finance Investment Committee, and is a Trustee at Prince’s Trust International, Royal Voluntary Service and Centre for London.
Commenting on her appointment, Bayo said: “Like many, I have watched loved ones, young and old face this terrible disease firsthand. To play my part in supporting life-saving research to beat cancer is a privilege.
COVID has brought unprecedented challenges that require new thinking. Through my experience of technological disruption, developing innovative collaborations and business models, I hope to help Cancer Research UK adapt to the changed world and find new opportunities for growth.”
Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives. The charity has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival in the UK double in the last 40 years.
All Trustee roles at Cancer Research UK are unremunerated.
The charity announced Bayo’s appointment late last week - please click here to read the full announcement. We are really thrilled for Bayo and know she will be a great addition to the organisation.
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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.
Sign up to our newsletter to receive that and other reports, learnings, articles and insights we share about our community.
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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.”
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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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What do the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities and Kanye West have in common? Many things flood to the mind, but one that sticks as evidentiary is a belief system that corrupts the lens through which Black people are viewed. Notably, Kanye west articulated his own dissenting opinion in 2018 when he theorised to TMZ that living in the 400 year legacy of slavery in America is a choice. Today the Sewell Report exhibits the same lack of nuance and awareness of the way people live and have been affected by negative race relations in the UK. The report proudly couches itself in decorations of objectivity by removing the individual experiences of race, the stories of the people that the data represents from its exploration of it. That is not what research is supposed to do. Research is supposed to marry to quantitative with the qualitative; the numbers and the stories are meant to support each other. In any other institution, particularly institutions with higher academic pedigree than the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, if the stories don’t match the numbers it is the numbers that are wrong.
The elitism built into the assault on race-based activism is rife in the declarations made in the 285 pages they probably didn’t expect many people to wade through. Sentences like this one: “For some groups historic experience of racism still haunts the present and there was a reluctance to acknowledge that the UK had become open and fairer.” Perhaps the reason there was a reluctance to admit the given statement was because it did not ring true to them. In one part of the report there is an accusation that those they were speaking with did not fully understand the nuanced terminology that the researchers were using to define racism, the conflation of terms offended them.
An appalling dismissal
The assumption that the Commission has interpreted the data with, is made clear by mentions of UK legislation that criminalises the use of certain slurs and violence on the basis of race. They have assumed that these overt expressions of racism are the only valid forms of it. In regards to language, there is an early dismissal of microaggressions as a figment of our imaginations with the report stating: “It is certainly true that the concept of racism has become much more fluid, extending from overt hostility and exclusion to unconscious bias and microaggressions. This is partly because ethnic minorities have higher expectations of equal treatment and, rightly, will not tolerate behaviour that, only a couple of generations ago, would have likely been quietly endured or shrugged off. The fact that this generation expects more is a positive aspect of integration.” What the report declares to be “more” my own experience of racism in the UK and the experiences of the staff and members of our own Do it Now Now community would deem to be, is just as awful and in some cases even more insidious. Just as much as I wouldn’t like be called a N***r to my face, I wouldn’t like to be held back from an opportunity because there’s “just something about me” that doesn’t fit the “culture” of a prospective company.
A disingenuous attempt to discredit racial justice groups
It is very clear that the conclusion was decided before the work began. The Commission and report were tasked with the invalidation of the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK and other activist groups seeking racial equity across the country. At multiple points of the document the writers invite us to take a victory lap for a battle they are trying to convince us has long been won. How do they expect us to “stop refighting the battles of the past” if they do not acknowledge that those battles rather than benevolence is what has won us the incremental movement toward a better present day that they are so keen to focus on. There are few people that have ever sought to propagate the argument that Britain is where it was; we recognise the achievements and we celebrate ourselves and the allies that have helped us win those battles. As the rapper DAVE so poignantly professed at the BRIT awards a couple of years ago, in a moment that was celebrated throughout the country as a marker of progress, “the least racist is still racist”. We all know we are better off than some places, but the condescending context in which those achievements are placed in the body of this report, ironically, has proven that we are much worse off today than some of us activists and change makers previously believed.
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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.