Beyond #BlackoutTuesday: Celebrating community action


On Tuesday 2nd June 2020 Semble took part in #BlackoutTuesday, standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Following this, the Semble team has begun to discuss how we can do more to help support the fight against racism.

This blog is a celebration of some of the community projects on the Semble network that are led by community organisers who are Black, Asian or a minority ethnicity and/or support minority ethnicity communities. 

Find resources for community groups and individuals working for racial justice here

Celebrating community action

Action Youth Boxing Intervention 

Albert McEyeson founded Action Youth Boxing Intervention (AYBI), which aims to engage with young people of all ethnicities who might be at risk of involvement with gangs, or who are already involved, to help change their ways of thinking/belief systems, self-worth and empowerment.

The Action Youth Boxing Intervention is an offsite, non-school intervention that engages young people through their boxing programme, and then runs a group discussion afterwards supporting participants using CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and RBT (Rational Emotional Behaviour Therapy).

Black Environment Network 

Black Environment Network (BEN) was set up in 1987 to support the full participation of Black, Asian and other Ethnic Minority Communities (BAME) with the built and natural environment. BEN works with BAME communities to link the relevance and opportunities the sector has to offer with the needs that communities have identified, while supporting environmental and heritage organisations to engage more effectively. Through this they work to bring BAME communities into the sector in ways that allow them to articulate and address their needs and enable the sector to engage effectively.

Take a look at their training and consultancy information here

Brixton People’s Kitchen

Kemi Akinola is the director of Brixton People’s Kitchen, a social enterprise that collects food that would have otherwise been thrown away from local shops, markets, and businesses. This surplus food is used to make delicious meals for their cafe where they’ve been welcoming members of the community since April 2019. 

Their work is based on the belief that sharing food with strangers is one of the nicest ways to share happiness, which is why they host community meals where they invite members of the community to cook with one another either in their kitchen or on their bicycle kitchen that appears all over Lambeth. These meals are then served to other local people and serve as an opportunity for the community to gather and socialise.

From the 26th March 2020 they were commissioned by Lambeth Council to run the North Lambeth Emergency food hub. You can see more on their Instagram. Get involved and donate here.

BUD (Businesses Under Development) 

Georgina Wilson is the founder of BUD, the UK’s premier consultancy dedicated to providing support to those leading positive change.

BUD has been living and breathing “out-of-the-box” leadership methodology since 2014. Using unique and unconventional techniques, we’re guided by our values to help you achieve the most with the people around you.

“Our mission is to support leaders for positive change. This defines the way we collaborate with you and with each other. Using our unique tools and creative, participatory approach, we exist to guide our clients along the pathway to success on an individual, business, and community level. We believe in a process of continuous learning, supporting ideas driven by passion, and inspiring the courage it takes to make your vision a reality.”

Join their Conversations for Good series here, where community leaders can connect and share challenges and celebrations. 

Feed Me Good

Nureen Glaves leads Feed Me Good, a community interest company delivering health and wellbeing services and food skills courses for different organisations such as housing associations, local councils, primary and secondary schools, youth services and charities.

Nureen and her team are passionate about creating a safe and fun environment where families and people from all walks of life can come together and build a community. In these workshops they can learn new life skills and celebrate food and cultures. Building community connections and encouraging small changes can make a huge impact, not only on health and wellbeing, but also being sustainable for future generations to come.

Sign up to their newsletter here.

Go-Woman! Alliance and DOSTI Secret Garden

Go-Woman! Alliance CIC (GOAL) is a social enterprise that meets the needs of the community to provide a safe place for women to unleash their potential. Through befriending and dedicated individualised support, the GOAL team provides opportunities through Stay & Play sessions which for many is the first point of contact with any community initiative. The staff work with them to support play with their children, providing a safe environment where they can meet other parents.

Through targeted support and building trust with users of Stay & Play, women start accessing other services, such as English classes and enterprise support to help women to start a small business. Women, particularly first-generation immigrant women, due to social and cultural reasons don’t access any community initiatives and therefore remain isolated, developing mental health issues.

They also run DOSTI’s Secret Garden, which enables isolated women from the community to develop their ‘Secret Garden’ at a local centre in Birmingham. It is a retreat where they can meet people and create a small haven of their own.

Support some of their enterprises here.

Just Enough Group

This social enterprise group runs workshops and creates books and resources on difficult subjects for children all across the world. They aim to educate every child and empower them to believe they can make a difference in the world, whether it is large or small. Their workshops include themes like slavery, radicalisation, hate crime and inclusion.

They have made their resources available for free, take a look here

Lifeafterhummus Community Benefit Society 

This “grassroots BME-Led Society” works to improve the health of local families, tackle health inequalities and improve social cohesion. They reduce social isolation by offering access to healthy hands-on cooking sessions for local families. These sessions focus on the benefits of eating more plant-based produce and empowering families to cook from scratch, reducing their use of processed foods. This initiative provides a supportive environment where participants learn from their team, but also from one another by fostering an inclusive environment that brings families in the local community together. Their motto as a community benefit society is “Health is a Right and not a privilege“.

During the Covid-19 lockdown they have coordinated a community response, ensuring that local residents can request free fruit, vegetables and cooked meals, as well as supporting them with applications for Universal Credit. You can support them here

PACT Southwark – Parents and Communities Together

Parents and Communities Together (PACT) is a community-led social support project, set up by Citizens UK, to support and empower parents in order to improve health and development outcomes for young children in Walworth and Camberwell.

They run a variety of weekly workshops, including Espacio Mama, a Spanish language group, that provide a fun space for kids to play and a safe environment for parents to build a network of support and share their experiences. The project started in Southwark but has since expanded to Leeds, North Tyneside and Lewisham.

What is Semble doing?

We’re taking time to listen, learn and reflect on how Semble can support the change that needs to happen.

We recognise that there is a lack of representation of ethnic minority communities in the Semble network. We’re reviewing the policies that govern our practices as an organisation. And we’ll be working to ensure that we provide adequate resources to support community groups and individuals who work to promote racial justice and support ethnic minority communities.

Further reading on Semble:

Find resources for community groups and individuals working for racial justice here

Find resources for individuals wanting to learn about racism and support the fight for racial justice here

About the Author:

Keir is a project officer based in Semble's Bristol office. Most of his time is spent on two of our movement campaigns, Outdoor Classroom Day and Backyard Nature. One of Keir’s main interests is food equality and outside of Semble he runs a small community food waste project.