Like many small organisations, Black Learning Achievement and Mental Health UK CIC (BLAM Charity) did not have the necessary resources or equipment in place to adapt as quickly as it needed to when lockdown hit.
The educational organisation provides Black British history, culture and identity workshops in schools and Youth Offending organisations across London to help empower and improve the self-esteem of young people. Through the pandemic, it needed to move its resources online and were awarded funding from Merton Giving to secure the additional equipment and the extra staff time required to respond to demand.
“There is a great need for free black history and culturally appropriate resources and in the first week of going online we had 120 young people sign up,” explains volunteer Tsungai Chikwanha. "The charity focuses on six to 16 year olds in Merton who make up 12.9% of the 36.9% of the BAME population. The community we work with are disproportionately poor, they cannot access private tutors as they cannot afford it, and so they rely on free resources that organisations like BLAM are providing,” adds Tsungai.
Its work aims to support young BAME people with content that raises self-confidence whilst improving knowledge, skill and overall educational attainment. The grant was used to create and provide online content such as webinars, worksheets and videos.
Says Poppy, who has been using some of the resources: "I've learned lots about my family in Nigeria, and I've learned lots about the history of how Black people lived in Britain. I feel so happy when I have finished the worksheets as I've learnt so many interesting things and I've had fun learning with my mummy."
BLAM hopes to be able to expand the number of families it supports across the borough, and is utilising the local BAME voluntary network to reach new audiences, including BAME Voice, Ashdon Jazz Academy, Jimmy Asher Foundation, EMC and Merton Home Tutoring Service.
The next round of funding from Merton Giving will be launched in November. Please keep an eye on our website for further information.
Submitted by firstname.lastname@example.org on October 12, 2020