Black British Families Suffer the Most From the Impacts of Covid-19

January 14, 2024
3 mins read

By Shola Adenekan

Monday, July 24, 2023.

A new report has revealed the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on African Caribbean families in the UK, as well those from Asian and minority ethnic background (BAMA)

The £2.5 million research project led by academics from three London universities – Goldsmiths, Royal Holloway and UCL – finds that Black and ethnic minority communities experienced great anxiety exacerbated by being in low-paid and precarious work, worries about education and disproportionate attention from police during the COVID-19 lockdown, have found.

Claudia Bernard, Professor of Social Work at Goldsmiths, in collaboration with Professor Anna Gupta, Royal Holloway, and Professor Monica Lakhanpaul, UCL, examined the implications of Covid-19 on children, young people and their families.

The report, titled‘The Consortium on Practices of Wellbeing and Resilience in BAME families and communities’ details an 18-month investigation which looked at those who have experienced a disproportionate socio-economic and psychosocial impact. The research examined the effects on mental and emotional health and well-being and the psychological and social implications. 

The research also found that black and minority ethnic communities relied more on social networks and community support than formal support services borne of a pre-existing lack of trust and a fear of racist responses.

The inequities of COVID-19’s impact on BAME communities were already reported soon after the virus hit- with data revealing that while making up only 3.8 per cent of the population in England, BAME people made up 5.8 per cent of COVID-19 deaths. The CoPOWER report goes deeper, reviewing the impact of efforts to stem the transition of the virus on family life, education, and parenting.

Through engaging with young people and parents from BAME communities across England and Wales as well BAME professionals in social services the report shows that the disproportionate impacts of the disease were exacerbated by pre-existing racial and structural inequalities.

Key areas of CoPOWER report are: BAME children experienced increased anxiety over parental employment and income; many suffered due to overcrowded housing,the absence of free school meals and a lack of access to internet and digital services had a negative impact on their ability to stay engaged with their education during lockdown.

Additionally, BAME children experienced inconsistencies in policing of lockdown rules. There were similar inconsistencies in supporting their education and mental health.

The study also points out Black parents experienced low pay, precarious jobs, poor housing conditions and immigration control. And they were not able to access financial support available to other workers during the lockdown.

Professor Bernard a co-author of the report at Goldsmiths, University of London said that the recently opened COVID-9 public inquiry has pinpointed chronic blind spots in the Government’s recognition of BAME communities in their emergency planning response to the virus, but that this new research shows that the formal support services at the local level were equally lacking.

“This wasn’t an error of oversight but represented racial and structural inequalities that were present and baked into service provision before COVID,” she says. “If we are going to build back better then service providers need to be culturally responsive to meet the needs of BAME families. Our recommendations place them in a position to achieve exactly that.”

The authors recommended that policymakers and service providers address harm and promote resilience and well-being. These include by ensuring investment in place-based community services within local and national government and children’s service providers adopting an intersectional approach for understanding how policies and practices impact BAME communities.

Other recommendations included co-producing youth services with young people, recognising the importance of grassroots-level insider workers, building trust between police and BAME communities through active engagement, and addressing racial discrimination within children’s social care, education and health services.

Professor Lakhanpaul from UCL said that children and young people from BAME communities deserve a better future.

“We know that they have always been impacted by racial discrimination, but this combined with the impact of the pandemic puts them at further danger of being ‘left behind’,” she says. “It is important that we act now, provide them with the safe spaces to connect with each other, and rebuild their trust in the police and education services. We, as a society, need to do better because these young people are our adults of tomorrow.”

Professor Anna Gupta, Royal Holloway shares the same view: “The study makes several important recommendations about how policies and practices can promote the wellbeing of these families going forward and I hope that this research informs decision-making in the future.”

Image: CoPOWER report.

Black British Families Suffer the Most From the Impacts of Covid-19

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous Story

Shaggy’s ‘Com Fly Wid Mi’ Plods, While V. Shayne Fredericks’ ‘The King Suite’ Soars’

Next Story

How Your Business Can Be As Organized As Possible

Latest from Blog