In the summer of 2020 BLMUK started a GoFundMe to support our work challenging racist police violence, grassroots Black education and abolitionist campaigning. We were overwhelmed by the support we received, and were excited to announce in February 2021, a first wave of donations – small grants to Black-led groups and projects we had been working with over the past five years.
The second round of funding will be open to all grassroots black-led organisations in the UK through an open application process. Details on this second round will be announced soon but please sign up to our newsletter for updates.
As part of our commitment to international solidarity, Abahlali is one of two Black organisations outside the UK we are donating to. This social movement is based in Durban, South Africa, and has been operating since 2005. Working with landless people, collectively they secure land and housing for over 80,0000 black people living in and around the city, as well as campaigning on a range of issues, including women’s liberation, anti-privatisation, workers rights and resistance to policing.
We donated 300,000 rand (approximately £14,650) to Abahlali in the first round of donations. The money will be invested in three areas:
1. Organising – covering the costs of mass meetings, transport for members, educational projects and protests (R 100,000)
2. Litigation – covering legal costs associated with evictions and arrests of organisers/members (R 100,000)
3. Exchange learnings and solidarity – covering the costs of meetings with similar social movements across the region (R 50,000)
Administration costs (R 50,000)
You can learn more about Abhalali’s work in this brilliant documentary, or by visiting their website.
All Black Lives (ABL)
We are really excited to be working with ABL, one of the new black activist groups which helped organised the BLM protests in the summer of 2020. They are spread across the country, in cities including Bristol, Birmingham, London and Manchester – they organised protests in all these cities in summer 2020, and continue to live, work, study and organise in them today.
ABL is receiving a grant of £5000 which will contribute to two projects.
1. A large annual event which celebrates black cultures through food, art and music.
2. A project providing mental health services for black people.
In the longer term, they are planning a black therapists project to providing emotional and mental support for black communities
You can follow ABL’s work on Instagram and Twitter @AllBlackLivesUK
Acts of Love International
This Black-led project in Teesside (North-East England) has been raising money to renovate an old community centre. Poverty and racial discrimination have a massive impact on their members decreasing motivation and positive mental health. The group provides ESOL classes, mental well-being, access to sport and activities, confidence and knowledge and other projects which decrease isolation – an issue of particular urgency for black communities in the pandemic.
Acts of Love also run a pan African Saturday school teaching young people about pre-colonial Africa, creation of the concept of race and its implications, racialized slavery and resistance e.g., Haitian revolution. Impact of colonialism, key black figures in history.
The Tees Valley does not have a dedicated space for the Black community which is the fastest growing population in Teesside. Historically, council loaned buildings for the Black community in the Tees Valley have been run-down buildings with poor facilities and no disabled access (terraced houses have been the norm). It gives the impression that the needs of the Black population in Teesside are not important and that they are not welcomed.
Acts of Love have been donated £5,000. Funds will be used to support the renovation of Rhema house into Teesside’s first African Caribbean community sports centre.
African Rainbow Family
African Rainbow Family is a grassroots charity run and led by radical members of a community of LGBTIQ refugees and people seeking asylum facing LGBTIQphobia, racial and institutional injustices. Since its inception in 2014, African Rainbow Family has developed a national network of over 500 people with branches in Manchester, Birmingham, London and Leeds. The group has supported over 350 LGBTIQ people seeking asylum to get refugee status and be safe in the UK.
The work of African Rainbow Family has become all the more urgent in the pandemic – with many undocumented people not being able to access basic services. The group has been donated £10,500 to provide food parcels and other essential services for over 70 of their most vulnerable members during the pandemic.
You can learn more about African Rainbow Family by visiting their website, or following them on Twitter , Facebook or Instagram.
AZ Magazine is an online platform created by four Black queer women in a bid to address the need for spaces where LGBTQ+ Black people and people of colour could
Amplify their voices. Since its birth in 2015, they have produced 10+ events, shared 250+ stories and reached people in over 200 countries- including places where it’s illegal to freely identify as LGBTQ+.
AZ Mag will be receiving £7,500 to run two interconnected projectsAZ Magazine – commissioning, editing, illustrating and publishing articles centring the voices of QTIBPOC communities.
1. An AZHub – a safe space to share joy, combat loneliness and improve mental well-being for LGBTQ+ Black people and other POC in the pandemic. Each Hub will respond to relevant themes through subject-led workshops. For example games and play will be used to explore elements of identity, such as the complexities of intersections of being Black and Queer, through different artistic media. This will be done through live performances, workshops, panels, etc. Costs include paying performers and facilitators, comms and admin.
2. AZ Magazine – commissioning, editing, illustrating and publishing articles centring the voices of QTIBPOC communities
You can learn more about AZ Mag by visiting their website, or following them on Instagram or Twitter: @azmaguk
B’Me Cancer Communities
B’Me is a charity which provides healthcare and wellbeing services tailored specifically to the needs of Black communities in the East Midlands. Some of the grassroots projects they support include Sistas Against Cancer and Friends and Bredrin (Prostate Cancer Support Group). Their work has gone beyond cancer, particularly during the pandemic, supporting outreach work in African and African-Caribbean communities in Nottinghamshire to get culturally appropriate hot food, toiletries and other household items to people most in need.
B’Me will be receiving £15,000 to run three projectsResearching, writing and editing a report on health inequalities faced by Black women in Britain, to be presented to Parliament. The report will focus specifically on breast cancer.
1. A national conference on food nutrition and cancer in black communities.
2. Outreach to Black community members and families in Nottinghamshire most in need during the Covid-19 pandemic, including but not exclusively those affected by cancer
You can learn more about B’Me Cancer Communities by visiting their website or by following them on Twitter @bmecancer
Justice for Black Lives
J4BL are one of the exciting new organisations that sprung up in the summer of 2020, supporting the massive protests which took place across London.
Since the protests, they have developed into an organisation seeking abolitionist justice for all Black lives through protest, political projects and outreach programmes.
J4BL will be receiving £3,200 to run two projects.
A series of pop-up kitchens providing healthy, affordable food for school-age children.
A series of educational workshops aimed at young black people.
You can follow J4BL’s work on Twitter @JForBlackLives and Instagram @justice_forblacklives.
International Workers of Great Britain (IWGB)
IWGB is an independent trade union with members that are often excluded from larger, mainstream trade unions. They focus on areas of work often subcontracted out by private companies such as security guards, cleaners and catering staff, most of whom are Black, migrants or other people of colour. Campaigns include supporting the mainly Black security staff at Greenwich University, challenging the racial discrimination they have faced working through the pandemic.
You can learn more about IWGB by following them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or by visiting their website.
IWGB will be receiving £15,000 to hire a national organiser to help coordinate campaigns and disputes across the country.
Northern Police Monitoring Project
NPMP challenges policing in the North of England, particularly in the Greater Manchester area. They have been campaigning against racist policing including stop and search, police brutality, police in schools and the collection of biometric data since 2012.
NPMP will be receiving £11,000 to pay for a ‘Know Your Rights’ trainer, training and resources to roll out across Greater Manchester. This is an initiative which has been requested by a number of the youth projects they work with, and considered particularly urgent given how more police are being put into schools in Manchester, criminalising black youth in particular.
You can learn more about NPMP by following them on Instagram or Twitter @npolicemonitor
Sistah Space is one of the few Black womens organisations in London provide services specifically for black survivors of domestic violence. This Hackney-based project has been battling with the council to keep their premises and continue their work, which has become all the more urgent during the lockdown.
Sistah Space will receive £10,000 to run three projects
A research report into experiences of Black women survivors of DV and DV services in Britain.
Education and training (both for mainstream audiences and Black-community specific ones) on Black women survivors of DV and DV services in Britain.
You can support Sistah Space by following them on Twitter: @Sistah_Space or Instagram: @SistahSpace_
Sindicato de Manteros de Madrid (Street Vendors Union)
As part of our commitment to international solidarity, Sindicato de Manteros de Madrid is one of two Black organisations outside the UK which will receive BLM funds. Since 2006, the group has worked with African (mainly Senegalese) street vendors, many of whom are undocumented and subjected to racist state violence. The projects they run include legal support against borders/policing, advocacy and advice service for African people, defence against immigration raids and racial profiling.
Since the pandemic, the lives of African street vendors across Spain has become increasingly difficult, partly due to decrease in tourism, but also due to the crackdown on people who live and work outdoors.
The Street Vendors Union will receive £7,500 to go towards a member-run restaurant, which will provide employment, shelter and support for members during and beyond the pandemic.
The space will have two broad aims
1) Provide employment for undocumented migrants engaged in street vending, and
2) Creation of community, understood as a political space of network, alliance and political solidarity.
You can follow the groups work on Twitter, Facebook and on their website.
Tribe Named Athari (TNA)
TNA is the third of the three new organisations which emerged out of the 2020 protests that will receive funds in this first round. They are a Pan-Afrikan, anti-colonial, youth-led organisation, centred around a practice of transformative justice and community healing.
This London-based collective will receive £5000 to run three projects:
1. Care packages and Covid Relief.
2. Tutoring for Black youth
3. Renovation for a community space in North London called The Maa Maat community centre. It’s a library and a meeting space on Tottenham High street. They will be working with Justice 4 Black Lives and Black Community Rising on this project.
You can follow TNA on Twitter: @TribeNAthari Instagram: @tribenamedathari and Facebook: Tribe Named Athari
United Voices of the World (UVW)
UVW are a trade union which specialises in working with members often excluded from other unions, particularly care workers. These jobs are often subcontracted out to private companies, providing fewer rights and less job security for employees.
Most of their members are Black, migrant or other POC and they organise their members to collective challenge racist discrimination and exploitation in the workplace.
UVW will receive £15,000 to invest in two projects
1) Strike funds for two strikes, one at a nursing home, one at Catholic School.
2) Hiring a part-time Black organiser for NHS workers
You can learn more about UVW by visiting their website, or following them on Twitter: @UVWunion
United Family and Friends Campaign
UFFC is a grassroots movement for and led by the friends and families of people whose loved ones have died at the hands of police, prisons, mental health institutions and borders.
The organisation was founded by Black women, and continues to be led by Black women, although they do work with anyone whose loved one has died at the hands of the state.
UFFC is the only organisation specifically named as a partner group on our GoFundMe page as we believe them to be one of the leading groups challenging racist state violence in Britain. We therefore a working with them to run a large project for justice.
UFFC will receive £45,000 to run a Peoples Tribunal on Police Killings, a grassroots justice initiative which brings together a range of campaigns. This Peoples Tribunal will heare cases in which the state must be brought to account for taking the lives of Black and other oppressed people.
You can learn more about the Peoples Tribunal on Police Killings here.
BLMUK has been working closely with UFFC for a number of years – you can learn more about the work we have done with them on our Youtube channel or by following UFFC on Twitter.