Co-POWeR: Consortium on Practices for Wellbeing and Resilience in BAME Families and Communities
Key contacts: Professor Shirin M Rai, Dr Shahnaz Akhter, Dr Jayanthi Lingham
Funding: UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
Partners: EGO Theatre
Project website: https://co-power.leeds.ac.uk/
Start date: March 2021
End date: July 2022
Co-Power investigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on practices for well-being and resilience across Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Families and Communities (BAMEFC) in the UK to create a holistic idea of vulnerabilities damaging BAMEFC, broadening/deepening existing work as well as conducting new research. Systemic deficiencies have stimulated BAMEFC agency, producing solidarity under emergency, yet BAMEFC vulnerability remains, requiring official support. We produce evidenced recommendations enabling official mitigation of disproportionate damage to the wellbeing and resilience of BAMEFC. Empowerment is a core consortium value – co-design, co-production, capacity-building and engagement informs our methodology. Alongside recommendations, regular reports and meetings, outputs to benefit BAMEFC within the grant period include digital educational resources and cultural materials (films, plays, exhibition).
Care, Caring and Carers
COVID-19 has disproportionately affected older people, front line workers and women doing unpaid domestic work. Our team at Warwick is studying how COVID-19 has affected older people receiving care, and their paid and unpaid carers, within Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic families and communities in Coventry and Leicester.
We will explore the ways that care and caring have been reconfigured - across both space and time - during the pandemic. Some of the questions we will be asking are: how were unpaid carers and those receiving care affected by confinement to the home during lockdowns and closures of local community spaces? How did paid carers have to navigate work travel across different tiers of lockdown and into extra-high-risk spaces such as care homes? How did carers have to change their schedules to manage additional unpaid responsibilities such as home schooling?
We will use our research findings to recommend ways to increase the wellbeing and resilience of the communities we work with. But we will also examine the costs of care and caring, how the pandemic has changed our understanding of care and work, and the role and impacts of racialised governance on care.
To help share findings with wider audiences, some of the stories gathered during the research will be dramatised in partnership with Coventry’s EGO theatre group. We will work with EGO to develop a powerful narrative illustrating the interaction of the COVID-19 pandemic with the social and institutional discrimination faced daily by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups in the UK.
1) What are and were the care needs of BAMEFC older people in Coventry and Leicester before and after the pandemic?
2) What were the specific challenges faced by the BAMEFC older people in accessing care during the COVID-19 pandemic?
3) How important is unpaid care to the well-being of BAMEFC older people, and how is this organised and does it affect the well-being of BAMEFC unpaid carers themselves?
4) How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the lives of BAMEFC paid care workers who provide care for older people?
5) How have families and communities engaged with government policy to address the care of BAMEFC older people and their carers?
Co-POWeR will provide evidenced recommendations to key audiences (healthcare stakeholders, policy-makers, local government and social services), targeting policy and behavioural change, and raising awareness to support BAMEFC to live well and in confidence under COVID-19. Recommendations will stress how policy can improve to ‘build back better', supporting BAMEFC to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience to future shocks. Co-POWeR will enhance official decision-making through strengthening cultural competence in ongoing responses to COVID-19 thereby maximising the success of the national strategy.