BAME-led charities ‘need infrastructure body for a stronger voice’, says report

A national infrastructure body for BAME-led charities is needed to ensure they do not end up at “the back of the queue” among policy makers, according to a report.

The call has come in a report from charity The Ubele Initiative as part of its research into the impact of Covid-19 on BAME-led community and voluntary organisations.

This has involved interviews and a survey among 31 small and micro BAME-led organisations in the UK to see what had changed for them since the start of the health crisis in March.

It found that organisations are embracing digital opportunities and pivoting support online. They are also benefitting from Covid-19 emergency funding.

But “there is a need for a national infrastructure supporting voice”, found the report.

It adds that respondents feared they could “find themselves at the ‘back of the queue’ as they may not have the voice or influence to help shape discussion and action.”

Among respondents 54% cited the lack of a national BAME-led infrastructure body amid existing charity umbrella groups that “purport to speak on behalf of the sector”.

The benefits of a BAME specific group are a strong voice, training and leadership opportunities, better community engagement and more effective campaigning and influencing.

“A strong conclusion from the report points to an emerging priority around the recognition of the role and potential of catalyst organisations alongside the recognition of a wider Black, Asian and minority ethnic infrastructure body to support and help develop the sector specifically,” said Ubele Initiative founder and managing director Yvonne Field.

Report author Karl Murray added: “More than anything, the report shows that against the challenges of COVID-19, micro and small organisations are delivering services that benefit beneficiaries, and more importantly, sustaining the organisation during this period.

"However, there are signs emerging from those voices, who shared their experiences, that they could benefit from catalyst organisations as well as from infrastructure supporting organisations."

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