2021: Looking Ahead to the New Year

Kunle Olulode MBE Director

2021: Looking Ahead to the New Year

As we welcome in a new year, I want to highlight some of the incredible initiatives and actions that Voice4Change England achieved in 2020, to not only counteract some of the hardships of the year but also build towards an even better future.

We constructed a brand-new team of grants officers who have been working tirelessly on the 1050 applications we received for our Covid-19 grants programme. In the last three months they have managed to approve 120 applications for funding so far, with a projected total funding of £7 million. No BAME-led charitable organisation has handled this level of funding in this short space of time, in the UK. It just goes to show what can be done given the resources and the opportunity. Most of all, we are proud of the work that has been done to ensure the survival of many small community projects and charities who are currently faced with tough times.

Our Home Truths report in partnership with ACEVO, containing two years of detailed research, has also been able to give an expression to the experience of Black, Asian and minority ethnic workers within the charity sector. We are proud that many organisations in the sector have taken note and adopted the 15 recommendations at the end of the report and are now using them to inform their approach to achieve Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. We also investigated the media discussion of race issues.

The Common Ground Contested Space report researched in partnership with Runnymede (December 2020) compares and contrasts how campaigners and the public think about racism and what should be done about it. With a raging culture war debate on race now becoming part of mainstream media and political discourse it’s clear we are only at the start.

Last but not least, the recent launch of V4CE’s first ever magazine within the KOL Social has been a real triumph in terms of beginning to reach not only BAME members of the charity sector but also in its clear potential to bring into our world a much broader audience. We are expecting to reach a range of people who are interested in volunteering and who want to engage with some of the key issues relating to policy within the charity sector and beyond, in particular the impact of the death of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement and how people have responded to that. This type of communication could not have come at a better time and we are excited to watch its growth with subsequent publications.

There are many important issues that need to be addressed in our sector. Support for civil society victims and in particular, the Windrush saga will be a key part of our work programme in next few months alongside all the projects already mentioned.

I believe that in 2021 Voice4Change England, as the national advocate for the BAME voluntary and community sector, is going to have an even bigger say in engaging its networks and members in shaping what that world is going to look like.

Happy New Year!

– Kunle Olulode MBE, Director at Voice4Change England