Virtual BME Network Meeting

Last Thursday, the Lewisham BME Network’s normal monthly meeting took place on Zoom, with over twenty members participating in key conversations regarding the current situation. Truly brilliant and more important than ever to see members coming together at this current time. The group discussed a range of issues around COVID-19 and the impact on the community – from public health updates/ community & voluntary sector responses, including support and guidance for vulnerable people in the area to education updates and support mapping.

Well over 900 volunteers have offered to help during these difficult times, helping with providing food, picking up pharmaceuticals, befriending schemes, online support. The different ways network volunteers could be used were discussed in the meeting, lots of advice was given on how we can support people in care homes, children, young people and rough sleepers.

Education was another key topic of the meeting, as students in Year 11 and 13 exams have been cancelled and their final grades will now be determined by their teachers. Jonas (an ambassador of Lewisham Young Leader Academy, LYLA) mentioned that some of his friends are having a difficult time facing the reality that they won’t get the grades that they deserve. As a result of this, members have agreed to act and work on the correct way of helping students appeal against their undeserved grades.

Recently Lewisham LGBT have also been doing great work – providing resources and still aiming to tackle the LGBT issues in Lewisham. They recently added black and brown stripes to the traditional LGBT+ rainbow flag cards to show their support of inclusivity. Lewisham LGBT Forum is run by LGBT+ community members, who work on a voluntary basis to raise the profile of the LGBT+ communities living, working, socialising and studying in Lewisham – one of the most vibrant and diverse boroughs in London. They’ve also included links for free online books including children’s books, and free LGBT films via the Leeds Queer Film Festival, plus links for free for 3 months of movies via MUBI on their website.

Thank you to all those that took part in the meeting, and that shared valuable input on how we can all work together in these times.