Why We Must Support Black Carers
Gloucestershire County Council is leading a project to research the needs of the large numbers of BME ‘hidden carers’. It is work that is long overdue, writes Ade Sawyerr
SUPPORT NEEDED: Carers see their role as part of their duty and often do not know that help is available for them
THROUGHOUT THE UK there are a lot of people who care, unpaid, for a family member or friend who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support, and provide assistance to them in diverse ways.
Conventional wisdom suggests that most ethnic minority people will care for their loved ones, children and relatives. The reality however is that this unpaid duty can leave carers physically, mentally and emotionally drained to the extent that, the longer they carry out this role without support, the more likely they are in danger of their becoming unwell themselves and isolated.
The major problem is that there are a large number of hidden carers amongst the black and minority ethnic (BME) community who do not ask for help. These hidden carers see it as part of their duty, or they do not know that help is available to support them as carers. Or it could be because they think that asking for help would mean that they cannot cope with what they regard as, their basic duties of care to a loved one. There are others who also fear that knowledge of their duties will mean that their cared for may be taken into an institution where they may not be properly looked after.
Carers face a number of other difficulties such as having to juggle their paid work around their caring role and this can impact their career and earning power.
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Vision of unity
Ade Sawyerr looks to the future for African and Caribbean in Britain.
African and Caribbean people may have followed different routes of migration to Britain and may have different cultural practices but, to all intents and purposes, they are seen by the authorities in this country as one people.
The first generation immigrants tended to form their own community organisations, support and self help groups that advocated and facilitated their settling and integration into the main communities.
These welfare organisations, formed because of the need to survive in an alien environment, provided an identity that still held on to their old way of life in the countries of origin.
The organisations helped supplement what the statutory sector offered in the area of social support – so health groups, housing organisations, supplementary educational agencies, employment and enterprise based as well as arts and leisure based community organisations were set up to cater for the culturally sensitive needs of those earlier immigrants. Continue reading “Vision of unity”
Business & Finance –
22nd- 28th May 2000 West Africa
THE WAY FORWARD
Ade Sawyerr continues his look at what African community organisations can do to get their houses in order
ANY successful organisation has a strongly developed quality assurance system, a democratic structure, a growing membership and an approach that pursues development projects based on need. It has a constitution or defined set of rules to guide its operations. Everyone is kept informed through the correct channels, through attending meetings and ensuring that agenda papers are sent on time, minutes are kept and monthly accounts are rendered.
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Ever Young at 80 – Mr James Aflah Barnor
By Ade Sawyerr, London
As a young boy growing up in James Town (British Accra), there was a particular route that I took to church every Sunday with my older brother and sisters. From Bruce Road we would take a left turn at Commodore Street into St. Edmund’s Street, past Mantse Agbona and into the High street and then past the famous James Fort, the Ussher Fort and then the Old Kingsway Store till we arrived at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity.
There were three photographic studios along the route; “Ever Young” studio on St. Emund’s Street and the Deo Gratis studio just off the High street; and just before you get to the Ussher Fort there was Mr, Darku’s studio on the left (you have to look for it before you notice that small studio!). I refer to these photographic studios because when you are in your Sunday best that is when you are likely to have your photographs taken.
I had completely forgotten about the “Ever young” studio till I came into this country because as I graduated from satin tunic shirts and shorts, through short suits, and then to full suits, I sort of remembered the many more photographs that my parents had demanded that we take during the important ‘events’ when we really dressed for church were mostly at Deo Gratis Studios. I have however recently understood why this was so and why I was more in tune with Deo Gratia than with “Ever Young”. I must say however that over the past 10 years this has changed considerably and the reason for that change is that I have had the privilege of meeting the proprietor of “Ever Young” and doubly honoured to consider him as a friend.
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