Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the safety of our BAME staff

Like many people and organisations around the world, Greenwich Mencap have spent the last few weeks reflecting on our own record on inclusivity, equality and diversity in regards to Black Lives Matter.

Like Royal Mencap we too feel that our focus on people with a learning disability has overshadowed the needs of other people who suffer from inequality and prejudice. In particular, we have recognised that we could do more to support the thousands of people with a learning disability from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities who experience ‘intersectional’ or double discrimination.

It has been reported that people from BAME communities are two to three times more likely to die from Covid-19 than the population as a whole – it is essential that Greenwich Mencap addresses some of these prevailing issues within our organisation. We also recognise that we need to better account for the different lived experiences of people from marginalised communities, and prioritise coordinated action to centre them in our guidance and our risk and welfare assessments. We are currently carrying out individualised risk assessments to ensure we are aware of any added risk for our BAME staff before asking staff to return to work from being furloughed or shielding due to Covid-19.

Greenwich Mencap have a diverse work force with 38% of the staff being from minority ethnic groups. We want to ensure we are providing enough support for them and our BAME volunteers, so their voice is heard. We feel that colour should not be a barrier to career development and we are proud to promote equality by giving everyone the same opportunities. We would like to hear from people with a learning disability & their families, as well as BAME communities, and welcome their views on what we can do to address any inequalities.