Comic Relief gives £3.4m to BAME-led voluntary bodies

Ten charities will receive between £275,000 and £440,000 to be distributed to smaller organisations

Comic Relief has distributed more than £3.4m of funding to BAME-led voluntary sector organisations for the first time.

The grant-maker said it had identified 10 charities that would each receive funding of between £275,000 and £440,000, to be distributed to smaller organisations that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Of the £3.4m, £650,000 is being provided by Comic Relief, with the remainder coming from the National Emergencies Trust.

A Comic Relief spokeswoman said BAME-led organisations had been specifically targeted to distribute the funding “as we want to help small and micro projects and believe these organisations have specialist expertise”.

Comic Relief has also launched a £9m grant programme called Change Makers, which will provide funding to organisations looking at the social and structural changes needed to address the longer-term impact of Covid-19 on communities.

It said that 20 per cent of those grants would be targeted at BAME-led organisations.

Among the 10 recipients of the £3.4m funding are Next Step, which trains and supports African communities in Scotland, and Sporting Equals, which promotes ethnic diversity across sport. The awards will be made from mid-July.

“Small local projects can provide a lifeline to the vulnerable people they work with in communities,” said a Comic Relief statement.

The selected BAME-led organisations will fund small projects across a range of services, including health, domestic abuse, sports and legal services, gender and racial equality and family support.

Each organisation will set their criteria and grant amounts individually.

Jacqueline Onalo, a trustee of Comic Relief, said: “The disproportionate effect of Covid-19 on black and Asian communities has been truly devastating. Smaller projects that work within these communities have also been adversely affected after many years of neglect, with many at risk of closure.

“Our ring-fenced funding aims to directly address these inequalities and empower BAME-led organisations with specialist expertise to reach and support grass-roots local projects that are a lifeline to the people they help.”

Deryck Browne, chief executive of the African Health Policy Network, said: "This pandemic has laid bare the extent of health inequalities entrenched within our social systems and faced by BAME communities and organisations.

“As well as responding to some of the immediate acute needs within the community, we hope that the funding will also help to build strength and resilience during this time of change."

For more details on the Change Makers fund and to apply, click here.

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