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#VolunteersWeek 2020: Supporting Black-led Community Organisations

#VolunteersWeek 2020: Supporting Black-led Community Organisations

Government recognises that the Black-led voluntary and community sector, including faith groups and refugee and asylum seeker organisations, has an important and continuing role in helping it to achieve its objectives.

As independent, not-for-profit organisations run by, for and located within Black communities, the sector brings distinctive value to society. In particular it enables Black individuals to contribute to public life and supports the development of active thriving communities by providing opportunities for voluntary and community action.

Many Black-led voluntary and community organisations continue to be excluded from the traditional structures of
the voluntary and community sector. This often results in exclusion from engagement with Government.

The Black-led voluntary sector offers people from Black communities the opportunity to volunteer. The ‘Strengthening the BAME voluntary sector infrastructure’ report highlighted the different experience of volunteering in the BAME sector compared to that of the mainstream voluntary sector. The report states,

‘‘The Black and minority ethnic voluntary sector has been created on a self-help basis by people directly affected by the problems to be addressed. The wider sector however emerged mainly from middle class people taking a benevolent interest in the disadvantaged. As a consequence the motivation of BAME volunteers is often based on a personal involvement and commitment to the issue.’’

#VolunteerWeek was from the 1st to 7th of June, and I want to encourage you to participate in ONE form of social action, whether in person or virtually.

As a community, we are obligated to patronise Black owned businesses, and we should also invest and support Black-led third sector organisations, with our time, skills and resources.

There are many excellent black led organisations and charities seeking volunteers to undertake essential work. My top picks:

  1. Centre of Pan African Thought – I have recently been made the Chair of this amazing organisation. The Centre is an independent think tank that works to restore and protect the human rights of African and African Caribbean people. They are a community of intellectuals who help to strengthen anti-discrimination policy making, and help political actors tackle social structures that marginalise African people. They are seeking volunteers and interns to undertake a rage of roles including researchers, content craters, events coordinators, fundraisers and policy writers. Email: info@panafricanthought.com for more information.
  2. Black Minds Matter UK – Their mission is to make mental health topics relevant and accessible for all black people in the U.K. They are seeking creatives, writers, social media content creators, advocates, activists and any individual who believes in their mission.
  3. Southall Black Sisters – Are a fast paced dynamic and leading advocacy service working to highlight and challenge all forms of gender-related violence against women, by empowering them to gain more control over their lives; live without fear of violence and assert their human rights to justice, equality and freedom. They require assistance in all areas of their work and operations including: Data entry; managing and sorting/archiving files; Helping Clients complete administration forms ; Drafting statements; collating evidence; drafting letters of support/complaints, compiling case studies; Assisting on reception or their helpline advice line; Assisting with the creation of content for their website and social media, creating posts/tweets/blogs promoting the services and ongoing campaigns and events; Accompanying clients to appointments, court and to make police reports; Assisting the Director with legal/policy and strategic litigation work and Acting as an SBS steward at our demonstrations.
  4. Exist Loudly – The Fund has been set up by youth worker and activist Tanya Compas to support Queer Black young people in London and across the country. The fundraiser, will fund essential talks, workshops and mentorships to provide a space for young people to explore their identities in a safe and welcoming space. You can help promote the fundraiser, get involved in the talks and workshops, as well as donate if you can.
  5. Black Lives Matter UK – #BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organisation in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. By combating and countering acts of violence, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and centering Black joy. You can join the movement to fight for freedom, liberation and justice by signing their petitions, donating, supporting their work, engaging in organised protests and sharing their resources.
  6. Stand Up to Racism – A racist offensive is sweeping Europe, with governments and the right-wing media using migrants, refugees and Muslims as scapegoats for an economic crisis and wars they did not create. The racist tide will only be driven back by anti- racists standing up and confronting it. You can lend your support by attending a local group meeting, sharing resources, participating and stewarding at events, as well as donating.
  7. SARI Stand Against Racism and Inequality – SARI is a service user/community-oriented agency that provides support and advice to victims of hate, and promotes equality and good relations between people with protected characteristics as defined by law. Their service primarily supports victims of hate crime, but also works with children, young people and schools, providing support to pupils facing racist and other hate incidents in and around schools. They also deliver anti-hate based behaviour and cultural awareness sessions to pupils and school staff. Their work also extends to perpetrators and young offenders. You can volunteer with SARI, as well as apply for temporary or locum work.
  8. Reach Volunteering BECON (Black & Minority Ethnic Community Organisations’ Network) – There objectives are: To combat social or community division on behalf of BAME communities and other under-represented groups suffering social or economic exclusion; To provide opportunities for learning and participation as tools to empower those who are disempowered by social or cultural separation. If you have three or more years professional experience,  they are looking for skills-based volunteers, to support charities as trustees, on short term projects or with an ongoing commitment.

In the comments, please name any other organisation we should include, and we’ll update this page periodically.

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