Since 23rd March, life in the UK changed in an unprecedented way. In a drastic attempt to limit the spread of the virus and curtail the death toll caused by COVID-19/coronavirus (after the previously recommended “herd immunity” theory backfired), the nation was sent into lockdown with immediate effect, changing the course of 2020 for the entire country. For some of us, in more ways than we ever could have anticipated.
With health, jobs, education and mental stability at risk, it’s never been more important to know how to cope in these challenging times. It’s been reported that enforcing lockdown has unsurprisingly increased the class divide. This has meant that working class households, of which BAME community make up a significant majority, are disadvantaged more in-proportionally. Statements like “we’re all in this together” feel so far removed from the reality that many face, particularly when they come from MPs with second homes to escape to should they so desire.
For obvious reasons, the wellbeing of the African/Caribbean diaspora is our main concern. Connecting you with help in whatever form over this time is of our vested interest. You have to really take time to look for support for the black community during lockdown, so we’ve (hopefully) done some of the hard work for you. Below is some useful information that should offer support in these trying times. We encourage you to share with whoever you think may find this useful:
Government help – Gov.uk
It would be remiss of us not to highlight the government website on how to keep you and your loved ones safe in this crisis. Not only that, there are useful links on how to claim benefits and stimulus packages should you find yourself out of work, or simply low on funds. From business grants to housing and accommodation assistance – here is your first port of call to get a head start on supporting yourselves and your family.
Financial help for at-risk key workers
I’m sure many of us know of a relative or two who’s on the frontline, facing all kinds of horrors to combat this virus.
The Guardian has reported that of the 53 staff members of the NHS known to have died from the virus, 68% were BAME. A disproportionate number, further reiterating the significant impact people from ethnic backgrounds have on the fight against the virus from a medical perspective, but also the glaring chasm of support within the system to keep these lives safe.
Whilst there’s not much we as a community can do for key workers but to keep practicing social distancing, washing our hands for 20+ seconds and only leaving our homes for light exercise and food, there is financial assistance available.
The BYP Network with the help of Kwanda have managed to raise a pot for workers in the black community who are in the medical profession, experiencing financial difficulty during this crisis. They’ve successfully reached their £10,000 within 7 days, and it’s steadily climbing. Every little helps, so if you’d like to donate, please do! Or if you or anyone you know is a key worker that’s facing challenges paying bills/rent or buying food, get in touch today by applying via the link below.
Even if you don’t qualify as a key worker, there are some initiatives online to help those who need added assistance during lockdown. Below are some individuals doing what they can to help – click through to either donate or access funds:
We’ve got a little community pot going – The Stweets Fund – and we’re able to help with small bill payments, food shop money etc., for anyone who has lost work.
Please send me a DM, if you need anything!
— Sallie (@salliefoyeh) May 4, 2020
💰⚫️ 10×10 Angels is starting monthly pitches for black founders raising £100k – £500k to pitch to black angel investors.
Apply here 👉🏽 https://t.co/ziYGvqnJQi
— Andy Davis (@MrAndyDavis) May 5, 2020
If you know of more initiatives, do please let us know in the comments!
Mental & emotional support
No one should have to suffer in silence. We’re experiencing all sorts of emotional trials, some more severe than others. Losing family, friends and loved ones to the virus is just a typical example of the type of turmoil we may have to endure, to varying degrees. It helps to know that there is support for black ethnicities during lockdown with someone you can talk to about grief and whatever else it is you’re experiencing.
The Black, African and Asian Therapy Network (BAATN) for years have supported people of ethnic origin. Not only can you find a therapist that is of the same race as you at affordable rates, but you can gain access to some useful self-help materials online. Give the website a visit and see how BAATN can help you today.
With gyms closed, it’s possible you could end up slipping into old (and bad) physical habits. But since lockdown, fitness gurus and personal trainers have changed up their style of teaching and adapted their service offering to ensure you can work out at home. How great is that?!
From yoga to HIIT workouts, we’ve listed some black fitness enthusiasts below to get you moving in the comfort of your own home.
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CORE WORKOUT. This workout reminded me of how heavy I am! Also reminded me that if this lockdown thing continues any longer- shooting a full music video pends lool! Grab a couple tea towels/magazines and give this a go, serious burn 🔥🔥 . ↗️SAVE&SHARE . ℹ️30 seconds work ℹ️15 seconds rest in between ℹ️45 second rest after each round . 🔁5 Rounds . . 1️⃣Slide Push ups 2️⃣Climbers 3️⃣Elbows to hands Jacks 4️⃣Roll outs 5️⃣Pikes
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Free Live Yoga w/ me tomorrow at 11am EST right here on my IG Live & on @theunderbellyyoga IG Live. No, we won’t be practicing forearm stand. This will be a beginner friendly class- no experience necessary. You don’t even need a yoga mat. I mean, they definitely make things easier. But seriously, fuck a mat- just do your thing. Yes, the class will be recorded & posted on IGTV & Youtube afterwards. No, you do not need to be on time- I’m literally almost always late for yoga. No, you did not need to wear anything more than your underwear. Underwear are the best yoga clothes on planet earth. Tomorrow, 4/4, 11am EST, be there or be square. It’s @theunderbellyyoga’s birthday and it’s a celebration, bitches. (No, I won’t be smoking weed so yes, your kids can come. Side bar- kids fucking love yoga.) This photo is old as fuck but it’s from the first time I ever held forearm stand and Dallas was so excited to celebrate with me. This is what home yoga feels like- holding a really hard pose in your underwear for exactly one breath and celebrating with your pup once you hit the ground. RIP Dallas forever and ever, amen. You are my main bitch forever. #dogsofinstagram #pitbullsofinstagram
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The anticipation of touch is one of the most potent sensations on earth. I’m addicted to yours @veda_yoga108 🔮👑✨ Wearing @aloyoga + @vivobarefoot 🎧: @tianamajor9 + @earthgang – Collide #RastaYogi #OnlyTheAvatars #couplegoals #love #yoga #yogainspiration #touch #intimacy #QueenAndSlim
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[swipe + save for later] #BrittneBABE21DayChallenge ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I know you babes are probably like, “Really Brittne? A pillow workout?” 😅 Listen – y’all know I’m creative so don’t knock it ‘til you try it. LOL This lil cheeky workout might seem easy breezy, but it’s not depending on the difficulty level chosen. This core focused routine is going to get you toning, sculpting, building, sweating, and burning in allllll of the right areas. Have some trust in me babesss! Let’s go!!! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 1️⃣ Pillow Halos 2️⃣ Pillow Darts 3️⃣ Pillow Russian Twist V Hold 4️⃣ Pillow Hollow Crunches – Pillow Passes 5️⃣ Pillow Full Raises ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Level 1: 3 rounds, 10 reps each exercise. Level 2: 3 rounds, 15 reps each exercise Level 3: 5 rounds, 15-20 reps each exercise ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ OUTFIT: @gymshark @gymsharkwomen Ultra Seamless sports bra (small) + crop top (small) + shorts (small) in the colour green. ✨Click the link in my bio to shop my gym looks✨ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #brittnebabe @brittnebabe #pillowworkout #pillowroutine
If you’re fortunate enough to have time to spare and are looking for ways to increase your knowledge, there are a number of incredible e-learning courses, some that are totally free! We’ve listed some resources below:
Harvard University have released online courses for you to take advantage of for absolutely free. Others include a small fee to pay, but what’s better than having a Harvard on your CV? Browse their catalogue now to get learning:
Learning to code needn’t seem like such a massive feat. The world has become increasingly digital, so knowing how to speak the language will serve to benefit you. Have a look at the online courses today:
Udemy has been an online learning resource with over 100,000 courses to choose from. From marketing to photography, design to business, there is a course to suit everyone, at reasonable prices. See which is your match:
Help for Domestic Abuse victims
It’s unfortunate to note that the National Domestic Abuse Helpline has seen an increase in calls and requests by 25% since the coronavirus outbreak. The need to stay home means forced proximity to household members, leading to, in some cases, increased tension in the home and could leave victims feeling as though there’s no escape from their abusers.
Citizen’s Advice has all you need to know about the kind of help that’s available should you or anyone you know be experiencing abuse of any kind; whether physical, mental or emotional. The National Domestic Abuse helpline is 24/7 (0808 2000 247), but if you are in immediate danger, always call 999.
Below are some helpful additional initiatives to note during the lockdown:
Any woman who needs to travel to find refuge from domestic violence can do so for free on any uk train as of yesterday. The cost of the ticket will be covered by the relevant rail operator. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feel free to spread the word.
— Bryan Simpson (@BrySim88) April 30, 2020
We've added over 50+ resources to our #DomesticViolence section 📢Those of BAME backgrounds experience domestic violence at the same rates, but may also face racism or cultural stereotypes. Here's a round up of specialist support⬇️ https://t.co/UFT3iWa4Bo pic.twitter.com/C0FlG4Jz3t
— Spark & Co. (@Sparkandco_) April 27, 2020
— Abha Thapliyal (@abbyness92) May 1, 2020
We’ve done our best to ensure we’ve captured what we can in this article, but we may have missed some out. If you know of any initiatives aimed at helping the UK black community in this time, please add them in the comments below!