Race Equity Collaboratives
Categories: Projects

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate and negative impact on people from black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities in the UK. The Race Equality Foundation is leading a set of collaborations to develop an evidence-led narrative and make practical recommendations to better ensure that the recovery phase from COVID-19 in the UK addresses racial inequity.  There are seven collaboratives, focusing on:

  • Children and families
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Long-term health conditions and disability
  • Older people
  • Housing
  • Education
  • Employment

Membership of each spans people with lived experience, the voluntary, academic and policy sectors. Each collaborative will engage with people working to progress race equity through a series of webinars. More details will be available, on each collaborative web page. At the outset of the project, each collaborative will commission an evidence-based paper on the current situation and the challenges to be addressed in the recovery phase, but the key task of the project is to produce a set of evidence-led solutions, which will be presented in the final papers from each collaborative. There will be a context paper commissioned reflecting on the COVID-19 related analysis of mortality and morbidity. As the work progresses you will be able visit the collaborative pages for their papers and video blogs. Our collaboratives will formulate solutions which will be used to engage with policy makers and practitioners to ensure the new normal is one where racial inequity is addressed, and that we reduce the health inequalities exposed in shocking detail by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Below is a brief introduction into the 7 collaborative areas:

Children and families

This collaborative will explore the impact of Covd-19 on families with children particularly the societal inequalities and greater risk of falling into further poverty as a wider consequence of Covid-19.

Members of this collaborative group are:

  • Jabeer Butt, Chief Executive Race Equality Foundation
  • Emma Rigby, Chief Executive Association of Young People’s Health
  • Rachael McKeown, Inequalities Policy Fellow Association of Young People’s Health
  • Professor Yvonne Kelly, Director ESRC International Centre for Lifecourse Studies in Society and Health University College London 
  • Dr Anita Mehay, Improvement Fellow The Health Foundation
  • Melvina Owusu, Trustee Race Equality Foundation
  • Professor Sarah Salway, Professor of Public Health University of Sheffield

Rachel McKeown

We know that young people are less likely to fall ill with Covid-19, but that they have been disproportionately affected by the impacts of the pandemic. In planning for the recovery phase, it is imperative to better understand the racial disparities in young people’s experiences of disruptions to education, employment, their social relationships and the impact on their wellbeing. Understanding different challenges faced will allow for appropriate planning and development of solutions that allow opportunities for young people to flourish.

Full briefing paper by Dr Anita Mehay available here.

Mental health and wellbeing

This collaborative will examine how Covid-19 has impacted on the mental health and wellbeing of black, Asian and minority ethnic people who research has already identified disparities in their experiences of mental health services and outcomes.

Members of this collaborative group are:

  • Andy Bell, Deputy Chief Executive Centre for Mental Health
  • Professor Raghu Raghavan, Co-Director Leicester Centre for Mental Health Research University of Leicester
  • Dr Jessica Jones Nielsen, Assistant Vice President (EDI-Race Equality) University College London
  • Professor Frank Keating, Department of Social Work Royal Holloway University of London
  • Bola Owolabi, Director – Health Inequalities NHS England
  • Shabana Janjua, Deputy Director – Health Inequalities NHS England
  • Patricia Johnson, Chief Officer Sandwell African Caribbean Mental Health Foundation
  • Monica Ukandu, Public Health Manager Public Health England

Andy Bell

“The Covid-19 pandemic has put extra pressure on mental health across society in the UK, and there is evidence that this is especially severe for racialised communities. I hope the collaboratives will help us to find effective ways of addressing this social injustice and prompt concerted and urgent action.”

Full briefing paper by Raghu Raghavan and Jessica Jones Nielsen here.

Long-term health conditions

This collaborative group will explore the impact of Covid-19 particularly in relation to health inequalities associated with disability and underlying long term health conditions experienced by black, Asian and minority ethnic people including.

Members of this collaborative group are:

  • Heather Nelson, Chief Executive Officer Black Health Initiative
  • Elaine Rashbrook, National Lead –Life Course, Adults and Older Adults Public Health England
  • Judith Kurth, Public Health Manager – Health Inequalities Public Health England
  • Jo Moriarty, Senior Research Fellow Kings College London

Full briefing paper by Jo Moriarty available here.

Disabled People

This collaborative group will explore the impact of Covid-19 particularly in relation to health inequalities associated with black, Asian and minority ethnic disabled people. The experiences of learning-disabled people will be of particular focus.

  • Samantha Clark, Chief Executive Learning Disability England
  • Kamran Mallick, Chief Executive Officer Disability Rights UK
  • Fazilet Hadi, Head of Policy Disability Rights UK
  • Christine Burke, Director Federation for People with Learning Disabilities
  • Racheal Hall, Learning Disability England

Full briefing paper by Christine-Koulla Burke and Leanna Ong available here.

Older people

This collaborative will explore the impact of Covid-19 on older people particularly as age has been a predominate risk factor for those affected by Covid-19, and will consider the prevalence of health conditions that black and minority ethnic older people experience.

This Members of this collaborative group are:

  • Taskin Saleem, Chief Executive Subco Trust
  • David Truswell, Chair Dementia Alliance for Culture and Ethnicity (DACE)
  • Dr Dharmi Kapadia, School of Social Sciences University of Manchester
  • Kevin Holton, Head of (Patient) Equalities and Health Inequalities NHS England
  • Emily Georghiou, Senior Programme Manager – Communities Centre for Ageing Better

David Truswell

My hopes would be: We hear more about the stories of older people from BAME communities. We look at older people and how they can get support in meeting their aspirations rather than focus on their limitations.”

Full briefing paper by Dharmi Kapadia available here.


This collaborative will examine the impact of Covid-19 on black, Asian and minority ethnic communities who more often experience housing deprivation and, how the risk of overcrowding and other factors have impacted on their experiences during the pandemic.

Members of this collaborative group are:

  • Caroline Bernard, Head of Communications and Advocacy Homeless Link
  • Sarah Mann, Director Friends, Families and Travellers
  • Mattey Mitchell – Health Campaigns Officer Friends, Families and Travellers
  • Kushminder Chahal, School of Social Science Birmingham City University
  • Nigel De Noronha, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nottingham
  • Cym D’Souza, Chief Executive Arawak Walton Housing Association

Sarah Mann

To build awareness and support of the need to include Gypsy and Traveller site provision in mainstream housing provision

Caroline Bernard

“My hopes for this project are that we can truly influence policy and practice to see a shift from government so that all forms of homelessness, such as living in unsuitable and insecure housing, are recognised. We know that there are a disproportionate number of people from minority ethnic groups living in this way, and as we learn to live with Covid-19 with its well documented impact, housing needs to be central to the recovery programme.”

Full briefing paper by Nigel de Noronha available here.


This collaborative will explore the impact of Covid-19 on education, the inequalities experience for black, Asian and minority ethnic children and young people and how the response to the pandemic has impacted on their learning and future potential.

Members of this collaborative group are:

  • Joy Warmington, Chief Exective BRAP
  • Surriya Walters, Digital Social Inclusion Outreach Manager Good Things Foundation
  • Professor Kalwant Bhopal – University of Birmingham
  • Jane Lane, Trustee Race Equality Foundation
  • Judi Dumont-Barter, Trustee Race Equality Foundation
  • Karen Chouhan, Lead Equality Officer National Education Union
  • Jacqui Reid-Blackwood, Public Health Manager Public Health England

Joy Warmington

Brap believe this project is of critical importance . Our futures depend on us understanding the relationship between ‘evidence and impact’ and what we can do to break the chain of disproportionate lives lost across all communities, including those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups.” 

Karen Chohan

Race and Covid 19 impacted Black pupils and teachers throughout 2020 and is continuing in 2021. There have been increases in racism and the focus on racism and disproportionate levels of poverty in Black communities have led to difficulties with remote learning and possibly poor nutrition throughout the period in which pupils were required to learn from home.   How can we address the racial inequalities in education which affects pupils and teachers, caused in tandem by the pandemic and systemic racism? 

Full briefing paper by Prof. Vini Lander, Dr. Tiffany R. Holloman and Dr. Jon Tan available here.


This collaborative will examine the impact of Covid-19 on current employment for on black, Asian and minority ethnic communities and on future employment opportunities post pandemic.

Members of this collaborative group are:

  • Jeremy Crook, Chief Executive Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG)
  • Lord Simon Woolley, Non-Executive Director Youth Futures Foundation
  • Peter Kenway, Director New Policy Institute
  • Wilf Sullivan, Race Equality Officer TUC
  • Sara Reiss, Head of Research and Policy Women’s Budget Group

Full briefing paper by Carla Ayrton and Josh Holden available here.

Press coverage of our work: The Independent

You can access the press release for the collaboratives project here.

If you have any questions about the project, please contact Lily Roberts at lily@racefound.org.uk.