Our community here at the Anti-Tribalism Movement has felt the impact of COVID-19 and since March 2020, we have completely shifted the way we deliver our services.
Grants for Small Businesses
How did we respond to COVID-19?
As we mark the one-year anniversary of the start of COVID-19 lockdown in the UK, ATM would like to reflect on the work that we have carried out during these unprecedented and challenging times. At the outset, we would like to offer our condolences to the families that have lost their loved ones to COVID-19.
In partnership with Comic Relief and National Emergencies Trust, we have launched ATM Resilience Grants to help BAME voluntary sector to sustain core services and adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19 so they can continue to have a positive impact in their communities. As result, we were able to disperse £432,000 COVID funds to the 34 organisations. More information about the successful recipients of the ATM Resilient Grants can be found here:
As part of our drive to provide effective strategic representation for the Somali community UK-wide, we have engaged our service users widely through the use of interviews, focus groups, and survey questionnaires to determine their needs, aspirations, and shared challenges. This paved the way for the development of ATM’s policy briefings agenda intended to influence policy decisions makers at the local and national levels while also providing the framework for the Somali community to have a wider dialogue on issues that affect their lives. These policy briefings captured the needs and challenges of the community during the height of COVID-19 and the overall structural impact COVID-19 was having at the grassroots level. These essential policy briefings provided valuable findings and recommendations to influence meaningful change for the community to fully prosper and be heard in the corridors of power on key policy decisions that affect their everyday lives. Below is our list of Policy Briefing reports on COVID-19:
- Covid-19 Unemployment and The Somali community
- Covid-19 and Women in the UK’s Horn of Africa Communities
- Covid-19 Impact on Remittances from the UK to Somalia
- Improving Mental Health Support for the UK Somali community
- Covid-19 Impact on the Somali community
Lead and Be Led
We transformed our services digitally to extend our support and engage young service users. We temporarily shortened the length of our flagship leadership programme Lead and Be Led from 11 weeks to 6 weeks in order to accommodate beneficiaries amidst the unprecedented nature of government guidelines while also providing them with efficient training. The national lockdown prevented face-to-face interactions with all of our service users, and as a solution, we created a digital toolkit to guide and track our young people with their personal development during and after the workshops. We also extended our 1-2-1 mentoring provision with our young people and worked in partnership with other organisations such as CityCV and Street Doctors to provide bespoke training.
We utilised social media much more in response to COVID-19. We have been engaging with our online followers by creating COVID-19 support guidelines in English and Somali, hosting Instagram Live sessions with service users, and sharing remote opportunities available during the pandemic. Social Media platforms enabled us to share information, research, and connect with various communities. During the second lockdown, we were well-positioned to prepare the community by sharing accurate information and reliable resources in both Somali and English, which reached Somalis globally.
From March 2020 the infection and death rates were concerningly high; people were losing loved ones, schools and universities were closed and there was a national fear of contracting the virus. We were aware of how young people were deeply impacted by the pandemic and the difficulty to access affordable and effective mental health support services. We provide subsidised therapy sessions to a number of our beneficiaries by connecting our young people with BME counsellors and therapists to help them navigate their way through surviving the pandemic and aid personal development while simultaneously thinking about their future.
Support for Businesses
As the government has put in herculean public health, economic and logistical efforts to support local businesses, communities, and the wider economy as part of a comprehensive response to COVID-19. ATM has within these local initiatives taken a leading role to help apply and encourage British/Somali businesses to utilise local business rates support available within our Local Authorities across the UK. A number of essential businesses and services to the community have benefited from the support mechanisms to help sustain and cushion them from the impact of COVID-19 on their core services and businesses.
Service User Provision
As we work with marginalised communities our mission has always been to help address social disadvantages, empowering people to understand their rights, and creating a sustained dialogue with public agencies to promote and enact social change. Existing pre-COVID-19 social inequalities and poverty are exacerbated by COVID-19 and during the pandemic, we assisted service users to access support with housing rent, education, employment, health, and housing. In the last year, there has been a storm of issues affecting the community and we are delighted we became a pillar of stability in these difficult times for our service users and beyond.
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