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.
The Anti-Tribalism Movement (ATM)
by Abdirachid Fidow, Grants Manager
What difference has the pandemic made to the communities you serve?
ATM’s target communities are Horn of African communities who face exceptionally challenging circumstances. They are living with disproportionate levels of COVID-19 infection and poor access to health information and health services, high levels of poverty (poverty rates in the UK are twice as high for minority ethnic groups than for white groups), high unemployment, poor financial resilience, inadequate housing and high level of rent arrears. Post Covid-19, our target communities were facing significant inequalities in accessing education, employment, health, and housing, which resulted in poorer outcomes. Many live in a web of inter-connected vulnerabilities which is of particular importance in the COVID-19 context.
What impact did you see on your services as a result?
Many of our young people were heavily affected by remote learning and contributed to poor mental health outcomes. We worked with a bank of therapists to provide free therapy sessions for our young service users during lockdown. We transformed most of our programmes digitally by creating online learning, downloadable toolkits, accessible videos and a community hotline service to support callers with their education, employment and business support needs. Many of our funded partners were able to do similar interventions to respond to service users’ needs and we were able to coordinate and share good practices amongst the partners.
How has funding from the Coronavirus Appeal, via Comic Relief’s Global Majority Fund, made a difference?
Comic Relief and National Emergencies Trust’s response to the needs of communities experiencing racial inequality via this grant is hugely appreciated and it contributed enormously to addressing the growing needs of vulnerable communities, facing the immense challenges of COVID-19. This grant enabled us to support 34 organisations to respond to the needs of their communities as well as access grants to survive. This grant supported more than 25,000 beneficiaries between our funded partners, and it has been a lifeline for many communities who have benefited. The grant from Comic Relief and the National Emergencies Trust enabled ATM to develop systems and capacity to manage larger grants in the future.
What challenges and/or opportunities do you foresee ahead?
Covid-19 devastated the communities we serve, and the aftermath of Covid-19 will take many years to overcome. We believe to overcome these post-covid19 inequalities, we must build community assets base, starting with the unique skills and capacities individuals already possess by enabling them to recognise their skills, spot opportunities, and to develop their confidence and ambition as they overcome Covid inequalities. This requires long-term commitment and sustained efforts by funders. We are worried that much of the funding opportunities have dried up, depriving our organisation and partners from resources and capacities to effectively respond post-Covid19 social inequalities.
The National Emergencies Trust partnered with Comic Relief in July 2020 to launch the Global Majority Fund. Find out more here.