Hidden in plain sight: personalisation in Black and minority ethnic communities

Clenton Farquharson MBE, is chair of Think Local Act Personal,

What does good, personalised community-based care and support look like for people in ethnically diverse communities? Think Local Act Personal’s new report aims to address this question. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed systemic and structural problems of inequality that people from Black, Asian, and ethnic minority communities experience; doubly so, when disability and the need for care and support is considered. Our role at TLAP is to promote personalisation and to shine a light on what’s not working. But we don’t stop there. We always contribute to making things better.

This report aims to find good examples of personalised care and community-based support for people from ethnically diverse communities. When we started, we were not sure what we would find.  We were delighted to find 14 organisations around the country, offering different services for different cohorts of people, who were willing to contribute to our study. (See map)

Whilst the organisations and the communities they serve are diverse, they are all doing personalisation within a broad framework of promoting health and wellbeing as envisaged in the Care Act. They may not use these terms, but we found that the support was person-centered and highly sensitive to people’s identities, backgrounds, and beliefs, using staff and volunteers rooted in their communities. This came with a strong ‘can do’ ethos which stretched beyond only meeting people’s needs for care and support.

The report demonstrates core aspects of what good, personalised care and support can look like for people from Black, Asian, and ethnic minority communities. Two examples are:

In Liverpool, the Chinese Wellbeing Service was initially set up to train family carers and as a befriending service for carers, but it gave many people from the Chinese community the opportunity to move into the care sector. Many people of the generation who migrated to the area in the 1960s and 1970’s never expected to work in anything other than the catering trade, and for them, it has been a gateway to creating alternative work opportunities. Community organisations can be an important bridge to wider employment opportunities for some community volunteers.

Short Black n Sides in Sandwell was intended to create a safe space in the community where Black men could have conversations about their mental health. The aim was to normalise these conversations and help people to stay well in the community. It was developed in this way because barbers were already engaged in those conversations with men who came to the barbers and having conversations with families who were going along.

TLAP believes there are many more organisations providing great personalised and community-based support, but they may be ‘hidden in plain sight’. Local care and health decision-makers are encouraged to engage with organisations like those featured in the report, so that personalisation becomes more inclusive, more equal, and better for everyone.

Shining a light on inequalities, and examples of how things can improve, can help us transition towards a fairer country where we can all live, work, play, and express ourselves.  This is a massive shift and one that we must hold onto.



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