News: BAME bereavement fund launched by Churchill Fellow

Published: 7 May 2020

Author: Patrick Vernon
News: BAME bereavement fund launched by Churchill Fellow

Equality campaigner Patrick Vernon OBE (CF 2018) has launched a special fund to help BAME families bereaved by Covid-19, as NHS statistics show that BAME communities are suffering higher rates of CV19 fatalities than the national average.

“We already know a lot of frontline staff from transport, NHS, care homes and retail - especially from BAME backgrounds - have died as part of their role and duty in making us safe.” - Patrick Vernon, Fellow 

“Emerging reports are that 35% of BAME have the virus and thus will be potentially disportionately affected in the death rate" explained Patrick. “I know this from my own experience as my sister’s partner died a week ago of the virus and we are grieving as a family.”

NHS England data released in April showed that 16% of those who died in hospital died after testing positive for coronavirus were of BAME backgrounds (compared to 11% of the general population).

The new Majonzi Fund has been named after the Swahili word for ‘grief’. It will offer small grants for memorial events and tributes to be held post-lockdown by families, work colleagues, community organisations and faith groups. It will also fund individuals to access bereavement counsellors and therapists reflecting the religious and cultural diversity of their community, through an online network of qualified therapists.

The fund is being managed by another Churchill Fellow’s charity, Ubele, which was set up by Yvonne Field (2012) to develop leadership among the African diaspora in the UK. Donations can be made here.

 “When you lose a family member like I have,” said Patrick, “you realise the importance of their contribution to society and its impact on families and work colleagues as part of the grieving process. This fund with the support of the public can make a small difference to families and communities affected by Covid-19.”

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