Dear friend, colleague and young leader,
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for all of us but, as most of us are aware, the impacts on the black community in the UK have been disproportionate on almost all levels. Because of this we expect that our next cohort of young black people for our Young Leaders course in March will require much more support and it is paramount that no young person slips through these widened cracks. We are therefore asking for your support in our plans to mitigate against the impacts of Covid-19 that we understand have negatively impacted young black people’s mental health, sense of security, school attainment and life chances.
In order to mitigate against the disproportionate impacts Covid-19 has had on young black people’s home life, academia, physical and mental health and employability, next year we will be launching our Young Leaders course with a strong system of student support. This will include an initial process of assessing each young person when they join the course in order to identify their further needs. Young people will be signposted to the services that are most applicable to them which include;
- a programme of mental health, wellbeing and resilience workshops that will run throughout the course as a series
- 1 to 1 mentoring by our trained tutors who have lived experience and a talent for connecting with young black people
- external mental health support such as counselling or therapy for a smaller cohort of young people who have much more complex needs and perhaps demanding home lives or trauma, something we see a lot and expect to have increased
- and an academic learning platform ran by Ed Tree that will be available for all young people and has been successfully trialled with our young people
- a live academic tutoring service with Ed Tree for a smaller cohort of young people who need much more support
This system of support will not only increase our capacity to retain and nurture our young black leaders but will also improve their school attendance, grades and attitude towards education as a tool to increase their live chances, create more positive and healthy interpersonal relationships such as at home and with their peers and effectively encourage them to be compassionate leaders within their community.
Furthermore, we will use what we learn from this system of support within next year’s Young Leaders course to inform a continued system that we will embed within our graduates’ scheme that leads on from the course and supports a young person for 3 years into employment or higher education.
As always, we are incredibly grateful and humbled by your ongoing support and participation,
Paul Anderson MBE CEO
- ONS (2020). Why have Black and South Asian people been hit hardest by COVID-19?. Available here
- ONS (2020). Coronavirus and the social impacts on different ethnic groups in the UK: 2020. Available here
- ONS (2021). Labour market overview, UK: May 2021, Estimates of employment, unemployment, economic inactivity and other employment-related statistics for the UK. Available here
Facts and figures:
As evidenced in government statistics throughout the pandemic, the Black African death rate for Covid-19 was significantly higher than any other demographic which may be partly due to their much higher exposure to the virus, where nearly 20% of security guards and related occupations and care workers are black, the occupations with the highest deaths related to Covid-19 (1). Further disparities can be seen through self reported financial capacity in which over a quarter (27%) of black people reported struggling to get by financially in April 2020 compared to 7% of white people (2).
This disproportionate financial struggle already existed before the pandemic but these disparities have widened with the rise in black unemployment rates to as high as the Brixton riots in the 1980s. From 2020 to 2021 BME unemployment rates increased by 41% leading to 1 in 11 BME people being unemployed compared to a 14% increase in white people and 1 in 25 white people being unemployed (3).
The mental health impacts from the pandemic on black people have been stark due to the financial struggle, higher risk to Covid-19 and much harder experiences isolating where black people are nearly four times as likely as white people to have no outdoor space at home (2).