Barnardo’s listening to Black communities and adapting to meet changing needs

Barnardo’s is building on its long history of supporting children and families from all backgrounds, while also listening directly to Black communities and adapting to meet changing needs. 

This is the message from the UK’s leading children’s charity after it hosted a virtual webinar at the end of Black History Month discussing what’s next for the charity and also what needs to change to create a more equal society. 

Barnardo’s ultimate aim is to achieve better outcomes for more children, and in the summer announced its commitment to being an anti-racist organisation.

The journey to achieving this aim includes being the convenor of a virtual network of more than 50 organisations – both large and small – all working together to reduce the inequalities faced by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.

It has also recently launched Boloh, a helpline for Black and Asian families who may be struggling to cope during the coronavirus pandemic.

The helpline provides therapeutic support, a live webchat facility, and a lifeline to communities struggling to deal with issues such as sickness and bereavement, rising hate crime and loss of support services, due to the pandemic, on top of existing inequalities, including poverty, overcrowded housing and physical and mental health problems.

Participants at the webinar also heard how Barnardo’s has launched a specific fund to help Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic* children and young people.

This will help the charity develop new ways of working as well as forming partnerships with other like-minded organisations, all focused on reducing inequalities faced by people within these communities.

It is also looking at working with grassroots organisations to set up a centre of expertise, to share existing knowledge and to work towards a more equal society.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said: “I know from personal experience that families in Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities have been hit hardest by the virus. Black people are four times more likely to die of the virus compared to white people, while the pandemic and recession are worsening existing inequalities. 

“As a result, children from these communities are suffering bereavement, mental health problems and fear for the future – and if nothing is done risk becoming the forgotten victims of the pandemic.

“Barnardo’s is proud to be at the forefront of responding to the challenges faced by vulnerable children and young people but we know we cannot do it alone. In these uniquely challenging times we are working in partnership with Government, business and other charities to support those who need us most.”

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