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COMPLETED: Co-POWeR - Consortium on Practices of Wellbeing and Resilience in BAME Families and Communities

Principal Investigator: Professor Iyiola Solanke, University of Leeds

Team: Professor Maria Stokes, School of Health Sciences, University of Southampton; Professor Sabu

Padmadas, School of Economic, Social & Political Sciences, University of Southampton; Professor Monica

Lakhanpaul, Institute of Child Health, University College London; Professor Claudia Bernard, Professor of Social Work. Department Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies, Goldsmiths College; Professor Shirin Rai, Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick; Professor Raminder Kaur, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex; Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya, Law and Social Sciences, University of East London; Professor Florence Ayisi, Faculty of Creative Industries, University of South Wales; Professor Anna Gupta, Department of Social Work, Royal Holloway, University of London.

Duration: 18 months


Two viruses - COVID-19 and discrimination - are currently killing in the UK (Solanke 2020), especially within BAMEFC who are hardest hit. Survivors face ongoing damage to wellbeing and resilience, in terms of physical and mental health as well as social, cultural and economic (non-medical) consequences. Psychosocial (ADCS 2020; The Children's Society 2020)/ physical trauma of those diseased and deceased, disproportionate job-loss (Hu 2020) multigenerational housing, disrupted care chains (Rai 2016) lack of access to culture, education and exercise, poor nutrition, 'over-policing' (BigBrotherWatch 2020) hit BAMEFC severely.

Local 'lockdowns' illustrate how easily BAMEFC become subject to stigmatization and discrimination through 'mis-infodemics' (IOM 2020). The impact of these viruses cause long-term poor outcomes. While systemic deficiencies have stimulated BAMEFC agency, producing solidarity under emergency, BAMEFC vulnerability remains, requiring official support. The issues are complex thus we focus on the interlinked and 'intersectional nature of forms of exclusion and disadvantage', operationalised through the idea of a 'cycle of wellbeing and resilience' (CWAR) which recognises how COVID-19 places significant stress upon BAMEFC structures and the impact of COVID-19 and discrimination on different BAMEFC cohorts across the UK, in whose lives existing health inequalities are compounded by a myriad of structural inequalities. Given the prevalence of multi-generational households, BAMEFC are likely to experience these as a complex of jostling over-lapping stressors: over-policed unemployed young adults are more likely to live with keyworkers using public transport to attend jobs in the front line, serving elders as formal/informal carers, neglecting their health thus exacerbating co-morbidities and struggling to feed children who are unable to attend school, resulting in nutritional and digital deprivation.


Historical research shows race/class dimensions to national emergencies (e.g. Hurricane Katrina) but most research focuses on the COVID-19 experience of white families/communities. Co-POWeR recommendations will emerge from culturally and racially sensitive social science research on wellbeing and resilience providing context as an essential strand for the success of biomedical and policy interventions (e.g. vaccines, mass testing). We will enhance official decision making through strengthening cultural competence in ongoing responses to COVID-19 thereby maximizing success of national strategy.

Evidenced recommendations will enable official mitigation of disproportionate damage to wellbeing and resilience in BAMEFC. Empowerment is a core consortium value. Supporting UKRI goals for an inclusive research culture, we promote co-design and co-production to create a multi-disciplinary BAME research community spanning multi-cultural UK to inform policy.


CO-POWeR investigates the synergistic effect on different age groups of challenges including policing, child welfare, caring and physical activity and nutrition.

WP1 Emergency Powers investigates these vague powers to understand their impact on practices of wellbeing and resilience across BAMEFC.

WP2 Children, Young People and their Families investigates implications for children/young people in BAMEFC who experience COVID-19 negatively due to disproportionate socio-economic and psychosocial impacts on their families and communities.

WP3 Care, Caring and Carers investigates the interaction of care, caring and carers within BAMEFC to identify how to increase the wellbeing and resilience of older people, and paid and unpaid carers.

WP4 Physical Activity and Nutrition investigates improving resilience and wellbeing by tackling vulnerability to underlying health conditions in BAMEFC.

WP5 Empowering BAMEFC through Positive Narratives channels research from WP1-4 to coproduce fiction and non-fiction materials tackling the vulnerability of BAMEFC to 'misinfodemics'.

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