One year ago today, 13 July, saw the landmark launch of the Brent Black Community Action Plan (BCAP).
The tragic killing of George Floyd in May last year inspired the council to join forces with its local residents and community leaders to look at the lives and experiences of Brent’s Black African and Caribbean residents.
The BCAP is all about long-term investment in the community by tackling and eradicating inequality for good, with Black leaders playing a vital role in improving outcomes and life chances for Black residents.
There is no quick fix for change, so the plan was quickly turned into a 10-year delivery plan, with clear outcomes for transparency and accountability for the council and its partners.
Brent’s Cabinet approved the Year One Delivery Plan in April, with three top priorities:
- Early intervention: children, young people and families
- Building sustainable community capacity
- Support for Black-led organisations
To get the programme moving and support local grassroots groups who know their communities the best, the council gave £2m of Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy funding to 23 projects themed around one of these priorities.
Projects include working to address the underachievement of Black Caribbean boys, helping them reach new heights through mentoring, workshops and in-school sessions, Funding is also helping to build sustainable community capacity with new training and employment programmes and helping Black-led civil organisations grow.
In living up to the council’s commitment to do things differently, £2.5m business support funding will also become available through its Covid Recovery Fund to support Black businesses thrive in a post-pandemic world. This includes digital skills training and grants for new equipment, both responding to needs raised from network groups and which will be crucial for survival. A pop-up scheme will also help to encourage young Black people and start-ups to raise their profile and trial new innovative business ideas.
BCAP also joined Strengthening Faith Institutions to organise an event for Black businesses on their experiences during the pandemic. This will inform the Black Business Network launching later this year.
That is not all. A key outcome within the Year One delivery plan is to set up a Youth Advisory Group so that young people can be involved in helping shape the BCAP. Six young people have already come forward and a recruitment campaign is ongoing to encourage more people to join. If you are interested or know a young person who is passionate about change, please get in touch.
Other achievements include a ‘Time to Talk’ event held and attended by over 270 people, giving communities a space to talk and learn about race and identity. Black communities also had their questions answered at a tailored vaccine webinar to reassure them about getting their jab.
The list goes on, and as we look ahead to the year to come, progress shows no signs of slowing down.
Cllr McLennan, Brent Council’s Deputy Leader, said:
“The unequal impact of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted the urgency of creating a fairer, more level playing field, especially in a borough as diverse as Brent.
“This plan is all about improving the lives of Black communities in the borough, and we want more Black Leaders to step forward to work together to deliver the plan. Please get in touch if you want to find out more.”
Abdi Farah, Director of Connect Stars, said:
“While we have made incredible progress so far, it is clear we still have a way to go.
“I am hopeful that by working together, we will achieve what is set out in the action plan and more.”