The Ubele Initiative undertook a follow up ‘deep dive’ interview and survey process with 31 micro and small Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) led community and voluntary organisations in the UK. The aim was to ascertain what had changed since the survey in March and whether there were any new possibilities, challenges and opportunities that now need to be taken into account.
The report revealed that the BAME community and voluntary sector were embracing new digital opportunities and benefiting from ‘COVID-19 Emergency Funding’ and that there was a need for a national infrastructure supporting’ voice. Part of the fear of respondents was that 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.”
Based on the response to the interview and survey process, the report showed that more than half of respondents (54%) felt that there does not exist a national BAME infrastructure body while there existed “numerous’ national infrastructure bodies”, all of whom purport to speak on behalf of the sector. Based on the overall responses obtained through the approach, four themes emerged as to the benefit of having a national infrastructure supporting body:
Strong voice for the sector (e.g. giving visibility to the sector);
Training and leadership development to build strategic influences/alliances;
Community engagement and dialogue;
Campaigning and influencing.
Yvonne Field, The Founder and Managing Director of The Ubele Initiative, said:
“The report shows that how the sector is supported will be critical. 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. It is therefore important, as the report states, that “Black, Asian and minority ethnic led catalyst and infrastructure organisations take the lead in building and developing the sector by providing the needed spaces and platform upon which organisations can grow and thrive as services reshape to meet new approaches forced on us from the COVID pandemic.”
Karl Murray, the author of the report, said:
“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. What became clear also was that doing nothing was not an option.”