Helping BAME communities to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic

Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME)-led organisations have, and are still playing a pivotal role in ensuring that vital emergency support reaches those from hard-hit communities.

We know from a growing body of research, including data from ONS, that the pandemic has hit some communities harder than others, and BAME groups have been particularly affected. These groups often face additional challenges, such as language barriers, cultural differences, and a lack of access to resources, making it even more difficult to recover from the pandemic.

Following research and consultation with the Welsh third sector, Community Foundation Wales launched the COVID 19 Recovery Support Fund for BAME Community Groups in Wales to help address this inequity.

Shaping the criteria

From talking to BAME communities, and other organisations working within the sector, we learned that groups were having difficulty attracting funding. This was for a variety of complex reasons, but in part simply because of the additional barriers they experience, such as language and a lack of confidence in understanding funders’ requirements.

With this in mind, and after working with BAWSO, Race Council Cymru and the Welsh Refugee Council, we shaped the criteria of the fund to attract applications from community groups that not only support BAME local communities but are also BAME led.

BAME led was initially defined by terms issued by the Race Equalities Funders Alliance, in that the organisation’s mission and purpose is to benefit BAME communities, and the majority of the leadership (i.e. at least half of the senior team and the Trustee board) are from the BAME community(ies) that it serves.

We also simplified the application form to make it easier for groups to complete and offered our usual support to applicants in the form of a phone call to talk through the application before or during the process.

Awarding grants to BAME groups

A number of grants have already been successfully awarded, with funding covering a wide range of activities from organisational core costs, to providing training, running activities for families to reducing isolation, recruiting volunteers, cultural events and more.

The Birth Partner Project, an organisation who support expectant and new mothers from BAME backgrounds, were awarded a grant to help them to recruit and train more volunteer birth partners, so that they can reach more sanctuary seeking mothers and reduce isolation by ensuring they receive peer to peer support.

KIRAN Cymru were also awarded a grant for a project supporting older people in their local BAME community. Their organisational mission is to promote inclusion and improve resilience in BAME communities and this project includes running workshops, healthy minds sessions and other activities promoting inclusion and wellbeing.

Speaking 6 months into their project about the grant, KIRAN’s Project Officer Anirban Mukhopadhyay said:

“This grant is helping us to engage local people regularly and actively through different activities to combat the effects of Covid-19. It is helping us to make people more resilient and stronger from within. It is empowering local BAME people.”

Funding across Wales

All of the grants awarded from the fund so far have been based in South Wales. This is something that has happened organically, due to the number of settled BAME communities in towns and cities across the South Wales region.

We want to ensure that the support of this fund reaches BAME communities across Wales so have consulted once again with experts in the sector, including the fund panel members and those with lived experience, to seek feedback on how to make the fund more accessible to other areas of Wales.

Following this consultation, the fund is now open exclusively to groups based outside of South Wales, whose focus is supporting BAME people.

We understand that dispersed communities in the less populated towns and villages in these areas are less likely to be fully BAME-led, particularly in terms of having 50% of the leadership team, (staff and trustees) coming from BAME communities.

So, we are now considering applications from groups that don’t meet this element of the criteria, provided the organisation is both informed by and focussed on those from BAME backgrounds.

We are encouraging any groups who think they may fit the criteria to consider applying, as we have so far had very little interest outside of the South Wales area.

If you are unsure about any aspect of the criteria, or want to find out more, please visit the COVID 19 Recovery Support Fund for BAME Community Groups in Wales fund page here. You can also book a call with a Grants Officer on this page too.

Please help us spread the word about this fantastic opportunity for community groups supporting BAME communities outside of South Wales to access the support they need to recover from the pandemic and build stronger, more resilient communities for the future.

The fund will close to applications at midday on Wednesday 31st May.


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