Addressing racism & disproportionality

What Hackney CVS is doing

June 2020

At Hackney CVS we have a range of initiatives to address the impacts of racism and inequality for our diverse communities. With the absence of a powerful umbrella body representing black people’s interests, we have stepped up on many occasions to fill this void, especially as our core mission is about making Hackney a fairer place.

Better policing and tackling structural racism

The Account Group, which brings young people together to talk and scrutinize police actions and approaches, have set out some clear demands to the local Met police after a meeting they hosted with the Borough Commander and senior officers. They presented clear evidence of disproportionality using police data and want to know how the Met will address this going forward. They are also presenting this to the Community Safety Partnership. Read more about their work here.

Our CEO, Jake Ferguson, created a network – Black Men for Change – in June 2019 which brings together black men to talk about how we can work in partnership to address the impact of racism using a do–for-self African-centric philosophy and focus on asset based community development. This network, which will be launching soon, includes both young and older men with years of experience of speaking truth to power.

We feed our thinking directly to the Violence Reduction Unit where we have membership of the main strategic board. We recently wrote to the Mayor of London in response to the death of George Floyd and following a stakeholder meeting he invited us to. We have set out ways in which we can see police community relationships improved starting with a process of healing and justice. The Mayor and Deputy Mayors want to work with our network of black men to look at what needs to happen to address structural racism in the Met and build community confidence in policing. Read the letter to the Mayor here.

Mental health

We have created a new Open Minds Alliance which brings together black-led community organisations and professionals to develop access to culturally rooted mental health support and space for dialogue using digital platforms at its heart. Coproduced with young people, this City & Hackney CCG funded project will be launching soon.

We have also established Growing Minds in partnership with Family Action and local black led community organisations to support children and families’ mental health, providing training and interventions for parents using an African-centric approach.

Recovery and resilience

We have started to work on a recovery and resilience plan for the VCS focusing on seven key themes. We will be hosting a range of meetings so that you can work with us on developing joint ways we can help Hackney recover from the impact of the virus and continue to keep people safe. At the heart of this approach is a commitment to tackling inequality.

Community conversations

We have hosted a number of conversations to discuss the impact of COVID 19 on our diverse communities. To read more about what these meetings covered, click here.

It’s also worth noting that we have started to talk to the Council about getting a commitment to a jointly signed statement which commits us all – public, private and the VCS – to working towards making Hackney an anti-racism borough.

We have started to draft such a commitment – please see the attached draft Anti-racism Manifesto. The Mayor, Phil Glanville, has indicated his willingness to sign such a statement and Cllr Carole Williams will be attending this Friday’s meeting to talk briefly about the Council’s commitments to addressing structural racism. You can find out more in a recent statement here.

Improving Outcomes for Young Black Men

We established this strategic approach with the Council back in 2015 so we are 5 years in and will soon be reviewing what has worked and what still needs focus going forward. For more about this approach please visit

Exploring an endowment or foundation to support black communities

Our CEO is working with a number of national Black & Ethnic Minority organisations to explore the development of a mechanism to attract philanthropic and charitable investment into a foundation or endowment which will realise long term funding for the much undervalued black and ethnic minority communities.

Test and trace – protecting black communities

We are working with Public Health and Volunteer Centre Hackney to develop a grants programme which will invest in community organisations who can help the roll out of the system which will help save lives. Look out for more information in our newsletter about this. If you want to be part of the roll out please email:

Racism in charities

We should all be looking at our practice as charities to see if we are fit for the purpose of supporting black communities and our black and ethnic minority staff. We will be issuing more information to support you with this soon.


Go back to the Black Lives Matter index page.