In spring 2021 a brand-new project from The Love Tank CIC will be kicking off. Black Health Matters (BHM) has been brewing as a concept for a number of years. The recent attention brought by COVID and the Black Lives Matters movements to the lives and health of Black communities has pushed the project into reality.
The first year-long Phase I of the project will start by building connections and coalitions across a range of health areas that disproportionately impact on Black people in the UK. These include HIV, sexual and reproductive health, diabetes, obesity, kidney disease, and many more. Research and lived experience demonstrate that COVID is no exception: people of colour, migrants, people who do not have English as a first language - are more likely to be impacted by a large number of health inequities.
There is currently little strategic and programmatic public health and health equalities work that collates and draws threads between lived experience leaders who address Black health inequalities, and that build responses that influences systemic change to tackle these inequalities.
Phase I of BHM proposes to bring together lived experience leaders and organisations from a broad range of health issues impacting on Black communities and to identify common threads and solutions to better addressing these health needs.
In the first year the project will:
- identify lived experience leaders who are health advocates as collaborators on the project;
- build up to ten case studies of different health issues and that identify how health inequalities impact different groups of Black people;
- identify a common 'action plan' across those health inequalities that seek to address action for improving Black health by those lived experience leaders;
- develop accessible materials (such as short videos, podcasts and action tool-kits) that facilitate Black communities, their allies, and policy makers, to take better control of their health and well-being, and that develop capacity for new generations of lived experience leaders.
Whilst having an immediate focus on the impact of COVID, the project will seek to move "beyond COVID" and to learn lessons from the recent pandemic and from decades of health inequalities faced by Black communities.
The project will aim to engage lived experience leaders in Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, London and Manchester.
The project aims to take action on three levels:
First, to support current and new generations of lived experience leaders who are addressing different health inequality issues. By bringing lived experience leaders from diverse health issues together on the project, we aim to establish more joined-up thinking and action, relating to health inequalities faced by Black people. In addition, we aim to improve learning and dialogues across health conditions, and seeking to understand what might be learned from COVID.
Second, the project aims to support health planners and policy makers by developing evidence informed tangible actions that can be taken to address health inequities faced by Black communities.
Third, the project aims to support Black communities in better navigating health services and health information through the learning from the project, the case studies and the projects materials. By generating such materials, the project seeks to benefit new generations of future lived experience leaders.