£445k fund to tackle ‘disproportionate’ effect of Covid-19 on black and ethnic minorities

Suffolk is getting funding to help tackle health inequalities deemed to have been widened by coronav

Suffolk is getting funding to help tackle health inequalities deemed to have been widened by coronavirus. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Deprived communities and ethnic minorities are to benefit from a new £445,000 fund to reduce health inequalities which widened during the coronavirus crisis.

The Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System this month released a report which found the pandemic escalated already existing inequalities.

MORE: BAME communities and marginalised groups were worst hit by Covid, report reveals

Some patients, it said, suffered more than others – often finding it more difficult to access health care.

Ed Garratt, chief executive of Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and West Suffolk CCG, even said it was his “biggest regret” of the pandemic.

Phanuel Mutumburi, business and operations director of the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality, said: “There are a lot of people from BME communities working in factories, farms and care homes where they were not able to distance or protect themselves as well and can have multiple families living in the same home.”

While the CCGs were praised for their proactive response to the report, Mr Mutumburi said: “The CCGs need to build better relationships with BME communities to overcome language barriers and ensure fears and concerns are heard.”

Now, NHS Charities Together has allocated £445,772 to Suffolk and North Essex from an outpouring of donations nationally to the NHS during the pandemic.

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As a result, the Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals Charity has created a new community funding programme called Community Ambition.

The charity said: “The Community Ambition Funding Programme has been created in partnership with the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System (SNEE) with very specific criteria to reduce health inequalities in ethnically diverse and deprived communities impacted disproportionately by Covid-19.”

There is soon to be expression of interest stage to “give communities the opportunity to propose projects and solutions that fit the criteria for this funding”.

Ahead of that, education events have been held to help people better understand the health inequalities and issues faced by deprived communities during coronavirus - with one aimed at community groups and the other at charities and the community sector.

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