BLOG SERIES: Perspectives on the pandemic
More than a year on from the launch of the National Emergencies Trust’s Coronavirus Appeal on 18 March 2020, we have asked our incredible funding partners – and some of their incredible grant-making partners – to share their unique perspectives on the pandemic
BAWSO – supporting diverse communities in Wales
by Lauretta Osa-Peters, Grants Officer for BAWSO
Tell us about the difference that the pandemic made to communities experiencing racial inequality in Wales
Urban and rural communities experiencing racial inequality were impacted more severely than others because of pre-existing levels of poverty, health and wellbeing inequalities, and their low income and savings, which meant that they had no economic capacity to counter the loss of earnings or the impact of COVID related restrictions. Many in low paid jobs or surviving in the alternative economy lost all cash income. Dependent families and children suffered in consequence and were required to remain locked down in overcrowded conditions. Black and minoritised communities and community groups were unprepared and ill-equipped or resourced to cope.
What was the impact on the charitable groups supporting these communities?
Established and constituted groups led by and for different ethnic communities were able to organise a level of initial support for members and their wider community, but they had minimal resources to do so. They were, however, in a position to seek out and apply for grant support. Informal community groups had no infrastructure to deliver organised services and no experience of applying for grants or delivering them. Comic Relief and National Emergencies Trust funds had an immediate impact on the work of communities experiencing racial inequality, but it revealed the low capacity of groups led by and for different ethnicities across Wales due to structural inequalities which traditionally excluded these groups from mainstream funding.
How has funding from the Coronavirus Appeal, via Comic Relief’s Global Majority Fund, made a difference?
Community groups led by and for different ethnicities delivered a very wide variety of interventions across their communities, including the provision of culturally appropriate food, household and personal necessities, respite for carers, support for the disabled, visiting for isolated and shielding individuals, local outside activities for single parents and young people, opportunities for entrepreneurs determined to establish sustainable incomes, and sporting activities for young adult refugees and asylum seekers. The breadth of activity illustrated the diverse needs of these communities.
What challenges and/or opportunities do you foresee ahead?
Only a proportion of applicants received a grant, and many groups lacked the skills and knowledge and experience to apply effectively and evidence that they could deliver a project. A competitive grants programme may provide one-off support, but it does not address the underlying need to strengthen the base capacity of community groups led by and for different ethnicities in Wales. An additional model of identifying thirty or so organisations and building their capabilities and competence in the knowledge that they will be guaranteed funding when their project and systems are robust, warrants careful consideration.
The National Emergencies Trust partnered with Comic Relief in July 2020 to launch the Global Majority Fund. Find out more here.