Covid-19 and the BAME community: Fellows’ case studies

Yvonne Field (far right) has been campaigning to ensure the voices of BAME communities are heard

Churchill Fellows are taking action against Covid-19 in a multitude of crucial areas, including working on measures to support the BAME community. Here are their latest activities and insights.

Arfah Farooq: mentoring

Community Manager Arfah Farooq has launched a digital careers kickstarter programme for Muslim and BAME students to replace internships and work experience which have been cancelled due to the pandemic. The free programme will run for four months via Arfah's organisation, Muslamic Makers, and will connect students with Muslim mentors and coaches within the digital sector to help train and prepare them for the world of employment. Arfah received a Covid-19 Action Fund grant to help support this work. Her Fellowship topic was Exploring, Activating and Empowering Muslim Women in Technology. 

Yvonne Field: empowerment

Social enterprise founder Yvonne Field has been campaigning to ensure the voices of BAME communities are heard during the pandemic, via her organisation The Ubele Initiative. This has included launching a national petition, conducting research and gathering case studies. In particular, she has been gathering stories from BAME women leaders working on the frontline of their communities during lockdown and will share these on an online platform to help inspire others and recognise the achievements of these women. Yvonne received a Covid-19 Action Fund grant to support this work. Additionally, she has helped launch a new grantmaking programme, The Phoenix Fund, in partnership with the National Lottery and the Global Fund for Children which will support BAME communities and BAME leadership practice in England. Read Yvonne's Fellowship Report: Ubele: creating future community-based leaders from the African-Caribbean community.

Erica McInnis: emotional wellness 

Clinical psychologist Dr Erica McInnis has launched Soulfulness in the Present, an African-centred emotional wellness course online, which offers guidance and learning strategies for growth during the pandemic. Following the success of the first course, she has launched a second course on Post Pandemic Planning: Being, Belonging and Becoming. Erica has drawn directly from her Fellowship research which explored the development of a UK model of Afrikan Centred Psychotherapy for well-being.

Ruth Oshikanlu: mental health 

Nurse consultant Ruth Oshikanlu has been developing a programme to provide frontline BAME health and social care staff with culturally and spiritually sensitive psychological support during and post-pandemic. The nurse-led programme will use a trauma resilience informed system (TRIS), to be rolled out to health and social care service providers and will additionally involve the training of health and social care professionals, community and faith leaders. Ruth received a Covid-19 Action Fund grant to support this work.

Patrick Vernon: bereavement

Equality campaigner Patrick Vernon 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. The new Majonzi Fund will offer small grants for memorial events and tributes to be held post-lockdown as well as for access to bereavement counsellors and therapists. Patrick has received a Covid-19 Action Fund grant to develop and expand this Fund. In addition Patrick has successfully campaigned for greater recognition for Mary Seacole, a Jamaican-born nurse who cared for wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War. On 4 May, Headley Court in Surrey - a former rehab centre for injured soldiers - was reopened as the Seacole Centre and will be used as a temporary facility for patients recovering from Covid-19. An article about Patrick's campaigning efforts ran on the BBC website. Patrick's Fellowship explored black heritage and mental wellbeing.

Fellows' activities on Covid-19

Covid-19 Action Plan

Donate to our Covid-19 Action Fund