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Latest News 2021-02-18T15:51:27+00:00


Thursday 18th February 2021

As many as 50 per cent of the black, asian and minority ethnic community have refused to take the vaccine and health professionals have been answering questions at a series of seminars to dispel real fear, anxiety and mistrust.
A lot of the scaremongering has been generated on social media and doctors, nurses, faith and community leaders want decisions, to have or not to have the jab, to be informed by facts rather than misinformation, lies or hearsay.
Among the more creative stories circulating is that the vaccine can change your physical appearance and that you could grow a tail! A panel discussion organised by Croydon BME asking ‘should we take the vaccine?’ saw four doctors and a faith minister answer questions at the online event which was attended by 800 people.
Croydon BME Forum has joined forces with local organisations in a bid to inform the black community about the Covid-19 vaccines following the recent low uptake.
A recent study by the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that 21 per cent of black people over the age of 80, who are currently eligible to have the vaccine, have been vaccinated compared to 43 per cent of their white counterparts.

Other studies have found that BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities of all ages are unlikely to have the jab when offered. This is despite the fact black people are twice as likely to die from the virus. Thornton Heath GP, Dr Agnelo Fernandes said, “Over 800 Croydon residents have now died of coronavirus and many more have been seriously ill. We now have a way of protecting ourselves.
Getting vaccinated gives us and our loved ones the best protection against this awful virus. These vaccines are safe and effective and it is an honour to be able to protect our patients and help local people get through this pandemic.” Andrew Brown, CEO at Croydon BME Forum, said: “Covid-19 has disproportionately affected people from ethnic minority backgrounds. Many more are dying from the virus, yet many from these communities are refusing to be vaccinated when asked. “We know many have concerns, which is why they are hesitant to take the vaccine, so over the next few months we will be engaging with local communities to give them a chance to ask experts about the vaccine so that they can make an informed decision.
The BME Forum are also running more workshops over the next couple of months Former mayor Humayun Kabir, who was hospitalised with Covid but has now recovered said: “I have been in touch with many elderly BAME community and particularly some Bangladeshi families in Croydon, some of them are elderly parents of second generation and I have explained to them the benefit of the vaccination.
Most of them are fine and happy to be vaccinated. Those who were not keen, they were scared and brought the issues of lack of trial. However, since more people are now being vaccinated, the level of confidence and attitude is shifting positively in my view.” Cllr Kabir has organised a seminar with panel members and speakers representing many Croydon organisations among the Bangladeshi, Tamil, HIndu, and Afghanistan communities. The Zoom meeting is on Thursday (Feb 22) 6.30pm to 8.30pm. For more information email Cllr Kabir on


Wednesday 10th February 2021

Croydon BME Forum is joining forces with local organisations in a bid to inform the black community about the Covid-19 vaccines following the recent low uptake. A recent study by the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that 21% of black people over the age of 80, who are currently eligible to have the vaccine, have been vaccinated compared to 43% of their white counterparts.

Other studies have found that BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities of all ages are unlikely to have the jab when offered. This is despite the fact black people are twice as likely to die from the virus.

Croydon BME Forum is partnering with South West London CCG and the Asian Resource Centre of Croydon to deliver a virtual outreach programme aimed at those from BAME communities to provide information, answer questions and challenge the myths which are circulating around the vaccine. Upcoming plans include interactive Zoom events, smaller community sessions held online and video interviews with health experts.

AAndrew Brown, CEO at Croydon BME Forum, said: “Covid-19 has disproportionately affected people from ethnic minority backgrounds. Many more are dying from the virus, yet many from these communities are refusing to be vaccinated when asked.

“We know many have concerns, which is why they are hesitant to take the vaccine, so over the next few months we will be engaging with local communities to give them a chance to ask experts about the vaccine so that they can make an informed decision.”

Dr Agnelo Fernandes, a GP in Thornton Heath, said: “Covid-19 has caused higher infection and death rates among BAME communities, so it’s really worrying that so many in the black community are reluctant to have the vaccine.

“We understand there is a lack of trust which stems from racism and education and health inequalities, but if you want to help slow the virus, save lives and protect yourself you should learn all the facts and then make an informed decision about the vaccine.

“I’m really happy to be working with Croydon BME Forum on the Covid-19 vaccination outreach programme. I look forward to providing factual information to help people make informed choices. I hope we are able to engage with many people in the borough and dispel some of the myths that are going round in the community.”
Dr Fernandes is working with Croydon BME Forum on its virtual outreach programme. The next online event is called ‘Covid-19 and the Vaccine – Should the Black Community take the Vaccine?’ taking place on Thursday, 11th February between 7pm-9.30pm. To register please visit:


Monday 8th February 2021
Source: The Telegraph by Morgan Meaker

Misinformation on social media is turning BAME groups against the vaccine.
Community leaders say they expect the problem to get worse
When a TikTok user filmed himself shouting “liar” at England’s chief medical officer in a London food market this week, the video gave a glimpse of the fevered Covid conspiracies spreading among young people on social media.
Particularly in diverse parts of the capital, researchers are raising the alarm about online misinformation which is fuelling intense government mistrust and persuading Black and Asian minority ethnic (BAME) communities, already disproportionately affected by the virus, to shun the vaccine.
There are fears this is already having an impact. A study released last week by Nuffield Health, found just 20.5pc of black people had been vaccinated so far compared with 42.5pc of white people.

In North Croydon, one of the capital’s most ethnically diverse constituencies, where more than 60pc of people are from Black, Asian or minority ethnicity (BAME) communities, the medical director of the local NHS Trust, Dr Nnenna Osuji, Medical Director of Croydon NHS Trust, said: “Right now, this misinformation is costing lives.”

Inflaming distrust in government

Outside the local Croydon University Hospital, passer-by Tim* outlines the far-fetched conspiracy that he believes lies behind the Covid-19 vaccine. He speaks slowly and carefully, as if trying to explain something complicated to a child without making them feel stupid. “You need to open your mind,” he nudges.

Leaning against the wall that separates the hospital garden from the pavement thoroughfare, the 31-year-old falsely states the virus has been created by a “New World Order” to scare people into taking the vaccine. The vaccines are really an attempt to kill-off large numbers to get the human population under control and protect natural resources. He offers no evidence to support these beliefs.

Tim knows these ideas are considered conspiracies. They are entirely untrue. But false and dangerous opinions are finding new audiences as people, locked-down inside and stuck online, look for new ways to understand the pandemic. Will he take the vaccine? The short answer is no.

Ideas like Tim’s are causing deep concern among Croydon’s community leaders. “When we first did our survey, the word “culling” kept coming up over and over again,” says Ima Miah, chief executive of Croydon’s Asian Resource Centre, explaining how the false theory that Covid was a big government conspiracy to kill BAME people is a sentiment that still resonates.

Tackling online misinformation in communities like Croydon will be a major test for the Government. Conspiracies are running rampant on apps like WhatsApp and combating it requires deep and nuanced cultural knowledge.

Words such as “airborne” mean entirely different things in Bengali, while some groups, such as the south Asian Silhetti community, communicate in an oral language. “How do you get literature across to an oral language?” asks Miah. “You don’t, you have to speak to them, you have to do videos.”

One December survey, taken during an online event hosted by the Croydon BME forum, showed 34 per cent of attendees said they were not likely to take the vaccine, with 25 per cent still undecided.

The trend appears to be reflected in the number of people attending their vaccine appointments too. “We know we’re not getting the same uptake across the entire population,” says Croydon’s Dr Osuji.

At the same time Croydon NHS was brainstorming how to combat social media misinformation, the local hospital experienced first-hand what it was like to feature in a viral anti-vaccine campaign.



Thursday 4th February 2021

Vaccine information in community languages
NHS doctors, nurses and other frontline staff have come forward to help reassure communities that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and have been independently tested to the highest standards.

Clinicians have recorded messages in some of the most commonly spoken languages – apart from English – in the capital to help ensure messages about the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine reach all Londoners.

They explain how the vaccine is given, and give clear evidence that the vaccines work and are safe.

Download the videos via the links below.

SLaM BECOMES NATIONAL PILOT SITE FOR PCREF  – transforming our services to become anti-racist

Monday 1st February 2021

We delighted to be a national pilot site in the development of our PCREF approach at SLaM.  Over the next two years, we are evolving our partnership working to bring together Black communities, Black service users and their carers with SLaM staff to reimagine our mental health services. 

This will be a challenging and necessary journey to transforming our services so that they are anti-racist and deliver equity for Black citizensDr Jacqui Dyer MBE is NHS England’s Mental Health Equalities Advisor and leads on the PCREF work nationally. Jacqui, together with Zoë Reed, Director of Organisation and Community, have strategic leadership of the PCREF Programme at SLaM.

Jacqui said: “I am delighted that SLaM is working in partnership with racialised communities, in a range of coproduction activities, to reimagine, then transform and deliver services that better meet needs of citizens from Black communities.

“This has to be from a place of trust and confidence because when people need to use these services they are at their most vulnerable. It is a reflection of SLaM’s commitment, to be better than before, that they are embarking on this journey.

“Particularly with Black communities that historically have not had a good experience therefore the mistrust of services runs deep. In this moment the whole leadership, workforce and communities are determined to improve the experience for Black communities in a sustained way. This is what it means to advance mental health equalities and I am happy to be involved.”

David Bradley, Chief Executive said: “Equity in mental health services has never been so important. I am pleased SLaM is a national pilot site for the development of PCREF. Together with our partners we will improve mental health services for people from the Black community to ensure our service users and carers have equity in access and positive experiences and outcomes.”

With the firm backing of our senior leadership, governance structures in place to drive change, the commitment from our communities through the Independent Advisory Groups (IAGs) supported through our ‘Host organisations’, Lambeth Black Thrive and Croydon BME Forum, and the invaluable contribution of Black service users and their carers and Communities sharing their insights, we are confident that we are on the right path.

We welcome more members of the Black communities in Lambeth, Southwark, Croydon and Lewisham to join us on this transformational journey – you can still join us at our upcoming events in Lewisham and Southwark.

Keep in touch, email


Tuesday 26th January 2021

Incase you missed it, you can catch a recording of our “Let’s Talk Covid Vaccines” webinar on our Youtube channel, featuring key speaker Dr Agnelo Fernandes, providing you with the science behind the vaccines.
Discussion and Question & Answer session about the science behind the vaccines.
Speakers :Dr Agnelo Fernandes

“Have your say”

Tuesday 19th January 2021

 On Thursday 21 January, 1pm- 2pm

Croydon BME Forum have been asked to work with Croydon Council in asking for feedback on its savings proposals for the next three years and wants to hear from as many people as possible. The proposals impact public services we all use – including parks, libraries, leisure centres and voluntary groups.

If you would like the opportunity to hear more about their plans and give your views on how they could do things differently, join the Zoom meeting with the council’s engagement team. Findings from the session will help the council shape its budget plans.

The council has to save money, but your feedback could help shape how they do it – don’t miss out on this chance to have your voice heard.
The survey is open online until 24 January – if you can’t come to the Zoom session, you can read an overview and fill in the short survey at If you need an accessible version of the survey or would like to give your views by phone, call 020 8604 7114 between 10am-4pm, Monday – Friday.

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting

Application Pack

Community Development Worker – Healthy Homes

Thursday 14th January 2021

The Croydon BME Forum is recruiting a new Community Development Worker, who will be engaging with BAME/Harder to reach Croydon residents around energy issues, and offer group and one to one support to residents.  
Healthy Homes for all is a project to increase awareness of domestic energy issues and reduce the risk of fuel poverty amongst harder to reach and BME communities, likely to be disproportionately affected by the impacts of COVID-19, and more at risk of self-disconnection. The project will be led by the Croydon BME Forum which has a long track record of community engagement, with specialist and advisory support from Croydon Council, and is being funded through the national Energy Redress Fund.

The new Community Development Worker will work closely with our Croydon Healthy Homes team to ensure consistent advice is offered across the services, and we have a joined up promotional/engagement strategy, which may involve some joint outreach work.
The post is for one year and the deadline for applications is Friday 12th February.  

Mental Health Personal Independence Co-Ordinators

Tuesday 12th January 2021

Croydon BME Forum and Mind in Croydon and have formed an exciting new partnership, the PIC Partnership to deliver this innovative, explorative project.

We are looking for 6 x Mental Health Personal Independence Co-ordinators (MHPICs). Three will be employed by Mind in Croydon and three by the Croydon BME Forum.
These roles involve working directly within the new Integrated Care Network Plus areas (map below) right across the Borough and with clinical partners, including local GPs, in multi-disciplinary teams. As one of our enthusiastic new MHPICs you will be the direct named key worker for a set number of people within the newly formed Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub. You will enable people to develop their own Personal Recovery Plans and support them directly to find and access the support and services available to them in their local community. You will ensure that people are enabled to identify their own goals, needs and wishes and are empowered to achieve them.

For full info please click link below.

Work with CroydonBMEForum  /

Community Volunteer Opportinity

Monday 11th January 2021

Volunteer Role Description
Croydon BME Forum has been funded to run the long-term conditions (LTC) project between 2020 – 2021 in collaboration with the Asian Resource Centre of Croydon.  The aim of this project is to educate and empower families in the black, minority, ethnic (BME) communities, so we can create a healthier and knowledgeable society.

The LTC’s this project will mainly focus on are;

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Respiratory Illnesses (COPD)

Community Champions Overview
The role will be to support the work of the Long-term conditions (LTC) and Expert Patients Programme (EPP) project coordinators by acting as ambassadors for the programme. It will be of particular importance in the recruitment process that these candidates have connections/access to the Croydon BAME communities they will be serving.

This will enable them to provide education and information about;

  • Key risks of LTC’s
  • The importance of early diagnosis and treatment to avoid complications
  • The importance of lifestyle changes i.e. stop smoking, sugar consumption
  • The importance of recognising signs and symptoms of LTC’S i.e. Diabetes
  • Risk and complications that can arise from existing conditions e.g. high blood pressure, diabetes and highlighting risk of stroke and heart attacks.


To apply for this role please send your CV and a covering letter stating what you feel you can bring to this role to or if you would like to discuss details of the role further contact Tracy on 07706 846 402

A Community Conversation with Hamida Ali 

Monday 14th December 2020

Don’t miss out on our webinar next         
Thursday 17th December 19:00

Croydon BME Forum is hosting a Community Conversation with the new Leader of Croydon Council, Hamida Ali at 7pm on Zoom.
Councillor Ali will be engaging with us and answering your questions.
Join us as she shares and sheds light on the issues of interest and concern to our community – from the council’s current financial position, right through to her plan of action for the borough.

If you have any questions for Councillor Ali, please send them to
Stay in touch with us online and let us know your thoughts!

Diabetes rates increasing across ELL boroughs as Covid impacts on sufferers

Monday 16th November 2020

GPs and support groups have highlighted the issues faced by diabetics during the pandemic, as figures released by Diabetes UK World Diabetes Day this weekend show that diagnoses of the disease are increasing in all of the Eastlondon lines coincide with

The charity found 23,348 people are living with diabetes in Croydon, 7.14% of the borough’s population. This represents an increase of 6.12% since 2018. Tower Hamlets is not far behind, with 6.65% of its population diagnosed – an increase of 6.42% from 2019, when the borough had the second highest rate of diabetes in London.

In Lewisham, diabetes affects 17,099 people, an increase from the 15,000 cases recorded last year, while City & Hackney have the lowest amount, with 15,229 people diagnosed, or 5.9% of the population.

The increase is a particular worry this year because diabetics “have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19,” Diabetes UK said in a statement. “Around a third of those dying in England from Covid-19 had diabetes, and the relentlessness of managing diabetes has only been exacerbated by the pandemic.”

Dr. Osman Bhatti, the Chief Clinical Information Officer for the East London Health and Care Partnership told ELL: “All long-term conditions – including diabetes, hypertension, etc. suffered from patients not being able to get their blood tests or reviews done due to COVID and these having been postponed.”

Healthwatch Croydon found that some diabetics in the borough struggled to access vital podiatry check-ups as well as diabetic-friendly food during the pandemic. Other residents could not get access to food deliveries because they were not deemed vulnerable people by the government.

BME diabetics

Gifty Nmaju, operations and finance manager of Croydon BME Forum and chairman of the Diabetes UK Croydon group told ELL that BME diabetics have faced particular struggles in the borough.

“For the past two years Croydon BME forum, in partnership with Diabetes UK Croydon, has run a successful walking group. But during the first lockdown we were not able to meet. The group carried on with online yoga, but this is not the same as meeting each other. Some people experiencing loneliness are getting through their hoarded tins of comfort foods and are struggling with a restrictive diet.”

But efforts have been made since the first lockdown to ensure diabetics receive better care under the new restrictions. Bhatti added: “Tower Hamlets – as it always does – is leading the charge to get patients reviewed as soon as possible.

“There have been hiccups, e.g. when the local lab ran out of reagents to do blood tests, but this is now back up and running. Patients are having their reviews again and we are being more efficient in getting them in for all their checks, such as diabetes foot checks, blood pressure, blood test[s], urine tests and then following up on the phone.”

Positive developments

Nmaju said there have also been some positive developments since the start of lockdown: “Since our normal diabetic support and exercise groups can’t meet physically, we are meeting on Zoom and having good quality presentations by local clinicians or Diabetes UK speakers followed by discussions with our lively members.”

Local groups in both boroughs are also continuing to raise awareness about the disease and offer support to their diabetic residents during what has been a difficult year for them.

Croydon’s Covid-19 alert level

Wednesday 04th November 2020

High’ local alert level

You will have heard that infection rates are increasing rapidly throughout the capital and that the whole of London, including Croydon, is now in the local alert level currently at HIGH.
This means new rules are in place to reduce the rate of transmission and keep Croydon safe.

The key change is:
You must not socialise with anybody other than members of your household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place, including pubs and restaurants.

Please continue to:
Keep your distance
Wash your hands
Wear a face covering

Rule of six – do not meet in groups larger than six (see further guidance for your setting)

If you have Covid-19 symptoms you must self-isolate while you arrange a test, or if you are advised to because you have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive.

New leader for Croydon Council

Monday 26th October 2020

Councillor Hamida Ali has tonight (22 October) been elected as the new leader of Croydon Council at an Extraordinary Full Council meeting.Councillor Ali has served as ward member for Woodside since being elected to the council in 2014. She has held the position of cabinet member for Safer Croydon and communities since May 2016 and has led on high-profile areas of work including the establishment of the borough’s pioneering Violence Reduction Network. Her appointment as leader follows the resignation of Councillor Tony Newman earlier this month.

“Croydon is the most exciting and vibrant borough in London and I am deeply honoured to have been elected to lead the council at this crucial point in time”
“This is a time of unprecedented challenge for Croydon as we continue our work protecting the most vulnerable and supporting residents and businesses through the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as getting to grips with the council’s significant budget challenges.
“Working with my talented new cabinet I am committed to opening up the council’s decision-making process and putting our finances back on a stable footing so that we can focus on continuing to deliver high-quality services in a way that is sustainable for the future.
“It is a long road ahead but my cabinet and I are determined to provide the leadership Croydon needs to overcome the council’s current challenges, support our community through Covid-19 and deliver the excellent services residents deserve.”

Cheryl Fergus-Ferrell CroydonFM Connects 

Monday 19th October 2020

Croydon FM CIC is a community-led online radio station offering a range of radio shows broadcasting daily consisting of music and discussions such as mental health, crime, life aspirations and personal development.
Their shows are conducted by voluntary members who are based in Croydon offering local people the first step into an industry that is often hard to access.
On Wednesday 14th October host Cheryl Fergus-Ferrell was joined by Croydon BME Forum Staff Stella Bolt to talk about the BME Community, surviving in lockdown and Black History Month.

Click here to listen to show

Croydon Based John Fisher gets named in the Queens Birthday honours list 2020

 Thursday 15th October 2020

It is with great pride that we announce, John Fisher our founder receives the British Empire Medal (BEM) Award from HM The Queen for his work within the community through We Sing Sing and services to education. Bringing gospel music in schools, helping boosts children’s confidence, helping them to gain the tools needed to deal with daily life challenges and providing the support they need in any eventuality. 

Croydon based John and We Sing U Sing has seen over 15,000+ kids pass through its many programmes. John has lead IDMC gospel soul choir since 1995 and through this, We Sing U Sing was birthed, combining both to bring Love, Joy, Peace and Hope through his music.

John says “ it’s been a total joy leading the team at We Sing U Sing, and I’ve enjoyed the 1000’s of workshops I’ve been able to lead with our awesome teachers. I really want to thank all of the schools, head teachers and staff who have allowed me in and trusted me without question to do what I do, and of course the awesome children who have sung with joy and a beautiful smile on their faces. This award is for all of us together.

Croydon employee awarded MBE for supporting local schoolchildren

 Tuesday 13th October 2020

A council manager who works to improve the lives of Croydon schoolchildren at risk of exclusion has been made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Val Burrell-Walker, who is the council’s Fair Access Manager for primary and secondary pupils, has been recognised for services to education after over 15 years supporting children into the right school, including those at risk of permanent exclusion.

Hundreds of young people have gone through the secondary fair access panel she set up, ranging from children moving into the borough for the first time to children being given a second chance at mainstream schooling after time in a pupil referral unit. She runs a similar panel for primary pupils.

Unlike a school admissions panel that can only consider restricted criteria, Val’s work involves considering the child’s detailed education history and gives the pupil a chance to present their own case on what they want. This aspect has led to many councils approaching Croydon to ask Val’s advice on introducing their own similar panel.

The 57-year-old from Croydon started her career as an administrator at Lambeth Council in 1980, working in community race relations around the time of the 1981 riots while working for Valerie (now Baroness) Amos. She later joined a private employability and training provider before becoming a primary school teaching assistant.

This led her to her first experience of helping young pupils experiencing difficulties, coaching five struggling Year 5 boys to pass their SAT tests. After gaining her degree in Education and Women’s Studies from the University of Roehampton aged 36, she joined Croydon Council in 2002.

Thanking her family – husband of 30 years Neville and their four children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild, Val said she could not believe the news when she got the call. She said: “When I spoke to the guy on the phone, I asked ‘Are you joking?’. I didn’t have any expectation that little me would be nominated for something like this.”

She said that it was important for her to accept the award both to inspire other Black people and because it underlined the importance of her career that has helped reduce inequalities in society.

She added: “I build a relationship with the kids and it is about getting them to like school again. I would say this is recognition for hard work and commitment over a long time to making a difference to as many young people as I can; it’s for the people of Croydon, really.”

“I’m delighted for Val’s MBE because over the years her work has helped to inspire so many young people to thrive in the face of adversity. She is an inspirational force to many, including me.

“By offering a supportive and encouraging environment, Val’s work makes a real difference to the future prospects of many children in the borough, and the award proves her commitment has not gone unnoticed.”

Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) is given for ‘an outstanding achievement or service to the community’ that ‘will have had a long-term, significant impact and stand out as an example to others’.

Leila Hassan Howe: ‘My life was made hell. You’d just hear a tirade against immigrants

 Monday 12th October 2020

The march she led in 1981 helped forge a black British identity. She talks about revolution, police brutality and Black Lives Matter

On Monday 2 March 1981, Leila Hassan Howe led a 20,000-person march through the streets of London. It was designed, she said, to “cause maximum disruption” and so, for eight hours, on a working day, the protesters marched; when they stopped the traffic on Blackfriars Bridge the police were so angry they tried to end it there. When they continued down Fleet Street – then synonymous with the British media – Hassan Howe says that “people were throwing banana skins at us”. Yet neither the police nor overt racism in the home of the press could stop them.

The protest that Hassan Howe helped organise – with her partner, the journalist, activist and publisher Darcus Howe – was dubbed the National Black People’s Day of Action. And it was unlike anything seen in Britain before. Today it is considered to be a turning point in black British identity.

The poet Linton Kwesi Johnson would later talk of the “sense of power” and optimism the march gave him, while for the playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah watching the event on TV “was my first experience of us, as a black community, standing up … This was black Britain.” The publisher Eric Huntley, who, with his late wife Jessica, founded the publishers Bogle-L’Ouverture, was so moved he told Hassan Howe he had previously “always intended to go back to Guyana. But after the day of action, that was over.”

Full story available here

Croydon Tribute to Keyworkers: Black History Month 2020

 Friday 09th October 2020

“The world is a wheel. When we rise or fall, we do it together.” – Cassandra Clare

This year, we’re not only reflecting on what has been but we are inspired to use our history to shape the future we want to see. This is why our theme for 2020 is ‘Learning from our past to create an equal future’. We celebrate the Black Lives Matter movement and we also pay tribute to our key workers who worked tirelessly during COVID19 to keep us safe and to keep society moving.

One of the ways we have done this has been by creating a video to express our gratitude, together with representatives of our borough to say THANK YOU to all of our key workers.

A special thank you to all who took part in this production.

Black History Month 2020

 Monday 05th October 2020

On Thursday 1st October the Croydon community celebrated the start of Black History Month 2020 online.

Streaming live on Instagram and Youtube.
Special guest on the day DJ MilkTray, Singer and TV Host Roger Samuels and Anthony ‘pass da mic’ King.
Guest appearances Madam Mayor of Croydon and Cllr Patricia Hay Justice

Supportive strategies to GROW your Business!

Thursday 6th August 2020

Knowing how to keep your business going can be tough. How do you decide what your priorities are and how to strategise to create growth? If your business needs some attention and help with capacity building, the Raise Your Game Programme can work with you to do just that!

By participating you will benefit from:
• One-year access to a Zoom account
• Access to the Croydon BME Forum office to deliver webinars/ training
• Additional knowledge by partaking in four compulsory workshops covering Strategic Planning, Fund Raising, Effective Governance and Monitoring and Evaluation
• Various options for two additional workshops
• A listing in the Business Directory
• Featured in the newsletter going out to 3,000 members
• Signposting for funding, insurance services, your website and promotional material

Before applying, please ensure that you fulfil the following criteria:
• Your turnover is 50k or below
• Your business needs to be responding to or meeting the local needs within the Croydon community
• Your business will deliver to, be open to or serve Croydon residents
• Your business should enhance, develop or support others
• Your business should be working towards improving its financial planning, service delivery, governance and management
• You will need to submit ongoing monitoring and evaluation giving progress updates over the duration of the Raise Your Game programme

At Croydon BME Forum, we want to support you to navigate those early stages and support you to understand how to build a viable business.

What’s there to lose?
For enquiries and further information, please contact

There are only 10 spaces so why not click on the button below to apply now

Guided by you – Healthwatch Annual Report 2019 – 2020

Wednesday 1st July 2020
Croydon BME Forum feature in Guided by you – Healthwatch Croydon Annual report.

Find us on page 14 discussing what well-being means to BAME residents to support creation of our new Wellness Centre in Croydon.

“The Croydon BME Forum was excited to collaborate with Healthwatch Croydon on this project.
 This research was needed due to the overrepresentation of the BME community members in crisis and acute mental health settings.
 In 2018, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust reported that BME population in Croydon made up 56.1% of their caseload on acute wards.
 The feedback from this research is being used so that we can deliver a BME wellness centre that supports the adult community in attending to and learning about their wellbeing.”

Job Vacancy – BME Partnership Coordinator

 Tuesday 30th June 2020

BME Partnership Coordinator
37.5 hours pw 52 weeks pa
Working in the London Borough of Croydon
£25,000 (pro rata FTE 36hrs)

Start date: 3rd August 2020 Fixed term until 2nd August 2021 in first instance
Closing date for applications: 5pm on Friday 17thJuly 2020
Interview dates: Week beginning 20th July 2020

Croydon BME Forum, as with other infrastructure organisations in Croydon, support the
public health approach to serious youth violence reduction.
Our particular approach seeks to meet the primary outcomes:
-Everybody feels safe in their street, neighbourhood and home,with a specific focus on children and young people thriving to reach their full potential.
-Our aim is through partnership working is to reduce crime, including serious youth violence, domestic abuse and hate crime overall.

We are offering a full-time position to join our team with the primary focus of the post to create and oversee all our partnerships forums.

PHE report on BAME Covid-19 deaths ‘must lead to change’, says CSP

 Monday 22nd June 2020

The CSP has welcomed the publication of a previously-withheld Public Health England report into the impact of Covid-19 on Black, Asian and minority ethnic people.

The report, from public health regional director for London Prof Kevin Fenton, said racism and social and economic inequalities were among the factors that could explain the higher death rate and Black and Asian groups and made seven recommendations.

These included measures to improve access to and experience of, NHS services for BAME groups, risk assessments for BAME workers and the development of more culturally sensitive health campaigns and prevention services.

According to the Guardian, for example, that report suggests that the early figures on the incidence of Covid-19 showed 35% of almost 2,000 patients in intensive care units were black or from another minority ethnic backgrounds, despite BAME people making up only 14% of the population, according to the last census.
The first wave of survey results predates the announcements, which started to unpeel some of the voices heard across BAME communities from personal stories that were not being reflected in any mainstream media outlets, until the ICNARC report. The survey report shows that, far from being passive recipients of the virus, BAME communities are fighting shoulder to shoulder with other communities being affected.

UK equality watchdog to launch inquiry into entrenched racism

Wednesday 17th June 2020

The UK’s equality watchdog is launching an inquiry into “long-standing, structural race inequality”, which has been thrown into stark relief by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission said it would carry out in-depth analysis and develop evidence-based recommendations for urgent action to tackle entrenched racial inequalities in specific areas.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle long-standing entrenched racial inequalities,” said David Isaac, the chairman of the EHRC. “We intend to use our statutory powers to address the loss of lives and livelihoods of people from different ethnic minorities. Only by taking focused action to tackle race inequality across Britain will we become a fair country.”

According to the Guardian, for example, that report suggests that the early figures on the incidence of Covid-19 showed 35% of almost 2,000 patients in intensive care units were black or from another minority ethnic backgrounds, despite BAME people making up only 14% of the population, according to the last census.
The first wave of survey results predates the announcements, which started to unpeel some of the voices heard across BAME communities from personal stories that were not being reflected in any mainstream media outlets, until the ICNARC report. The survey report shows that, far from being passive recipients of the virus, BAME communities are fighting shoulder to shoulder with other communities being affected.


Friday 5th June 2020


The report, Impact of COVID-19 on BAME community and voluntary organisations, is based on two surveys administered between 19 March and 4 April and received 182 responses, of which 137 were Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) led organisations.
The surveys predated the revelations captured in the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre’s report which has been reported on extensively since it was identified after 4 April. 


According to the Guardian, for example, that report suggests that the early figures on the incidence of Covid-19 showed 35% of almost 2,000 patients in intensive care units were black or from another minority ethnic backgrounds, despite BAME people making up only 14% of the population, according to the last census.
The first wave of survey results predates the announcements, which started to unpeel some of the voices heard across BAME communities from personal stories that were not being reflected in any mainstream media outlets, until the ICNARC report. The survey report shows that, far from being passive recipients of the virus, BAME communities are fighting shoulder to shoulder with other communities being affected.

Celebrating culture and embracing diversity

Monday 1st June 2020
FATIMA KOROMA, DIRECTOR of Revivify CIC Foodbank, and member of SI Croydon, was elected President at their recent Zoom AGM.

“I hope to encourage new membership and opportunities for us and other women to partake in activities involving women worldwide.

“Thank you also for the support given from the onset of the epidemic, it feels strange starting my year with this looming over us but I’m confident we will do our best. I especially appreciate how members have adapted to technology. I’m sure that’s a definitive ‘first time’ holding an AGM on a digital platform.

It reflects our diversity and willingness to adapt. In the current circumstance this will help us and other women feel empowered to do more in their communities. “This leads me to my theme this year; Celebrating culture and embracing diversity.

“The Covid 19 epidemic has given us all time to reflect on our lives and how we can help others in our community. So we look forward to encouraging new membership this year. At this stage we are planning programme action and wish to have a positive impact on local women’s lives.

“As someone who has worked with food poverty for years, I look forward to promoting the end of hunger; no child or adult should go hungry and I also will campaign for food security and improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. “Our programme action will reflect the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This will allow members to participate with “calls for action” across a variety of themes. New members are encouraged to get involved and share their ideas. “Worldwide food poverty affects women adversely. The consequences of this often lead to trafficking, and domestic violence. I would also like to work with local organisations to raise awareness for, or to benefit, women. “With the eradication of poverty, particularly among women, as the main theme of my year, I hope Croydon members will get behind me to support CAYSH (Croydon Association for Young Single Homeless) a charity which supports homeless young people, and is on the frontline of dealing with young women facing abject poverty. “I’m confident that our vibrant community sector will have us involved in various additional themes and programme action work and look forward to working with them and with the club to have a successful and enjoyable year ahead. “I have taken much guidance from my group and got involved in my own capacity, this was encouraged by members, especially from Grace Onions. So I am pleased to wish her well in her new role at Region. “I look forward to a year of productive programme action, friendship and collaborations within our community and beyond.” FATIMA KOROMA, PRESIDENT SI CROYDON

Book a space

Mental Health Awareness week 2020

Monday 11th May 2020

Approximately one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.
Mental health awareness week aims to get people talking about their mental health and reduce the stigma that can prevent people from asking for help.

During Mental Health Awareness Week Croydon BME Forum and Off The Record will be having discussions/workshops on the challenges and changes we have had to make as a result of the lockdown and how this has impacted on our mental health.

Monday 18th May 2020 7:00pm -8:30pm
Thursday 21st May 2020 2:00pm – 3:30pm

Good News Stories

Tuesday 14th April 2020

Good News Press Release from The Ubele Initiative
Andrew Brown from the Croydon BME Forum made us aware of the incredible work the following organisations are doing. The Cassandra Centre, Project 4 Youth Empowerment and Revivify CIC have rapidly adapted their services and have formed the following initiatives in response to the urgent needs of their communities. Well done to the Cassandra Centre, Project 4 Youth Empowerment and Revivify CIC.
The Cassandra Centre is offering a free online counselling service and is also delivering hot meals to vulnerable people.
Project 4 Youth Empowerment is providing community outreach work and delivering hot meals to families in need.
Revivify CIC through partnership with Good Food Matters, Revivify CIC sourced, redistributed and cooked meals for over 100 residents. Moreover, with the support of volunteers from mutual aid groups and the local community, Revivify CIC made 107 food parcels that were delivered to those who are unable to access food at this time.
The Ubele Initiative will be hosting a Zoom Meeting in partnership with Croydon BME Forum to be held Wedmesday 15th April 2020.
A disussion on exploring how to support your clients/your organisation during this pandemic including Covid-19 fundraising advice.

Croydon BME Forum works with community Groups on Zoom.

Monday 6th April 2020
Over the next four weeks Croydon BME Forum willbe engaging with its members in new ways.
Please join us for our first set of zoom meetings.
Tuesday 7th April – Domestic Abuse and Emotional Wellbeing
Thursday 9th April- Boost Immune system and Healthy Eating
Thursday 9th April – Invisible Mental Health and impact on Young Children
Wednesday 15th April  – Fundraising Advice
Thursday 23rd April – Mental Wellnes and Child Engagment.

Use the social Media links to keep updated on Croydon BME Forum.
Currently we are working on using these platform to update the BME Croydon community.

Instagram  @CroydonBMEForum
Twitter       @CroydonBMEForum   

Covid-19 Coronavirus

Monday 16th March 2020

The health and safety of everyone in Croydon is our biggest priority. The council is acting on the advice from Public Health England and working closely with colleagues in the NHS to support the national effort to combat and contain the coronavirus.

On Monday 16 March, the government announced new guidance for residents in single and multi-occupancy households with possible COVID-19 infection, which includes social distancing measures to reduce the risk of infection from the spread of coronavirus.

Croydon BME Forum Launch – The Wellness Centre

Thursday 20th February 2020

Newly launched, and unique to Croydon. Bringing a friendly, safe, and comfortable space to access free wellness activities and information. The Wellness Centre is founded and run by Croydon BME Forum the umbrella organisation for Croydon’s Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) voluntary and community sector and a leading BME Forum in the country.

We know that everyone wants to look after their health and wellbeing but sometimes don’t know what the best things are to do or how to access the best advice and support.  So – we plan to plug that gap! We will provide the opportunity to experience a range of activities and events that will help you look after your own wellness and gain information about services within Croydon which support your health and wellbeing.  By being based in the Whitgift Centre we aim to be as accessible as possible – we encourage anyone to drop in and see what we have on offer! Our opening hours are Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm and Saturday 10am – 4pm or you can check out our programme on our website

Andrew Brown, CEO from the BME Forum, said The Wellness Centre will have a great range of creative, fun and enjoyable activities which all contribute to us keeping ourselves well and it will also be an important place to obtain information on a range of health and well-being resources and services provided by key partners. These include Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, Croydon Council, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Off the Record, South East Cancer Help Centre and other friends of the BME Forum.

We will be offering holistic and complementary services such as seminars, workshops, health checks, fitness, creative activities, first aid training and much, much more – all in the name of Health and wellbeing for ALL!

We are still developing our full programme of activities and information sessions, and they are falling into the following categories

• Activities that make physical activity fun! For example, Fit Club
• Activities that help you relax and feel calm – like Tai Chi
• Activities that enable you to get into your flow of creativity – like drumming!
• Looking after new babies can be very stressful – so Mother and Baby Disco will help you relax and make friends and baby will enjoy it too!
• How to access health screening and support for a range of conditions, like diabetes checks, high blood pressure checks, alcohol and drug awareness
• Confidential help and support with FGM
• Support for you to make the most of life’s opportunities like counselling and mentoring
• A range of workshops include those to deal with Sleep deprivation, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Men’s Wellbeing Session, Mental
Wellbeing, Stress Management.
• Opportunities for volunteering
• Young Peoples Mental Health Session
• Advice for support when living with long term conditions
• How to access support when living with Domestic abuse
• Activities for the over 55s

Croydon Civic Awards 2020

Wednesday 18th December 2019

The Mayor of Croydon’s Civic Awards celebrate community heroes across the borough – the volunteers, community groups, local partners and businesses dedicated to helping others.

The 2020 Awards are now open for nominations – if you know an individual or group who goes above and beyond for Croydon, please put them forward so they get the recognition they deserve.

All nominees will be notified that someone has put them forward so every nomination counts! Finalists will be invited to an awards ceremony on 31 March 2020 where the winners will be revealed.

To complete a nomination form online visit:

The deadline to submit your nomination is midnight 15 January 2020.


By working in partnership with other organisations, the project aims to help facilitate a greater understanding, awareness and access to local community support and activities available for children and young people and to encourage better sharing of knowledge to identify gaps, opportunities and duplication to develop better outcomes.

The programmes run by the four Community Connectors and other organisations they can link you to are tailored according to need.

MOPAC Community Connectors Project

Thursday 05th December 2019

The Croydon BME Forum’s MOPAC Community Connectors Project helps parents, carers and professionals connect with local organisations who work collaboratively with children and young people aged 8-25, who are at risk of offending, gang involvement or becoming NEET to tackle any underlying issues they may have and to offer successful solutions that will help them with their life choices.

 This could include connecting to services that offer:

  • Mentoring and counselling to release and unlock potential
  • Guidance on positively engaging with organisations and social media
  • Careers information that leads to education, training, employment or creating an enterprise.
  • Personal development workshops that build confidence, self-esteem and help strengthen family ties.
  • Assistance to find activities or events that are enjoyable and create new interests.

By working in partnership with other organisations, the project aims to help facilitate a greater understanding, awareness and access to local community support and activities available for children and young people and to encourage better sharing of knowledge to identify gaps, opportunities and duplication to develop better outcomes.

The programmes run by the four Community Connectors and other organisations they can link you to are tailored according to need.

Black and Asian people can change this election:
it’s urgent that we register now – Simon Woolley

Monday 25th November 2019

Last week, just days before the deadline to register for a vote in the general election, it was revealed that one in four black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) citizens had still not signed up.

Operation Black Vote have now compiled a list of 100 seats in which the number of ethnic minority voters is larger than the majority held in that constituency – so they again have the chance to change the course of this election. And alongside that, they can change the course of Britain’s political future: to put pressure on their parliamentary candidates on issues such as schools, jobs inequality, policing, housing, immigration, global warming and racial discrimination.

Thousands have already responded. But many more still need to do so.
Of tens of thousands of black, Asian and minority-ethnic people register to vote in these last few hours (and it takes only a few moments) they will be making a statement of intent: that we must be listened to. And that we’ve got the clout to make the difference over who wins or loses on 12 December.

Surrey Street Market – Celebration of Black History Month 2019
FREE Event Saturday 19th October

Thursday 12th September 2019

This October, Croydon BME Forum in partnership with Croydon Council will be celebrating Black Businesses and Entrepreneurs.
The event will be an opportunity for black business owners to pitch and promote their products,ideas and services in the Surrey Street Market.

It is a good communications event in helping with networking other Black business owners and increase sales.
So we are asking the wider Croydon Community to come down on Saturday 19th October and support the BAME Community.

For more info: Phone: 02086843719 Instagram:@croydonbmeforum

Teenage football teams compete to kick out knife crime

Friday 14th June 2019
Over a thousand people gathered at Crystal Palace Football Club’s ground, Selhurst Park,  Saturday 25th May to participate in Cut It Out 2019, a football tournament that aimed to unite the community against knife crime.

The Cut It Out 2019 event was organized by Croydon BME Forum, along with Croydon Council, Croydon police, the Palace for Life Foundation and other community groups. The event championed the council’s Choose Your Future campaign, which aimed to tackle serious youth violence and support young people to make positive choices.

Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities expressed her appreciation for the opportunity: “I’d like to thank all the councillors who supported the event through their ward budgets given its purpose to bring young people together with the police and the council to break down barriers in the fight against knife crime.”


For the past few years, a variety of measures were introduced by the council to ease crime tension, including campaignsand workshops to tackle young people’s mental health concerns, as well as initiatives to open up job and education opportunities for residents. Cut It Out aims to raise public awareness towards knife crime.

Other participating teams included All Inclusive Football Team, Croydon All Stars, Croydon councillors, Croydon Female All Stars, City Hall staff, the Fathers Forum, Lions Society, London Road Businesses, Neighbourhood Safety Officers, and Selhurst Community Team.

Croydon Has Talent – The Winners

Wednesday 5th June 2019 

Hundreds headed to Thornton Heath to be wowed by a spectacular showcase last month – the borough’s first ever Croydon has Talent.

Open to young people aged eight- Twenty five from across the borough, the competition was organised by Croydon BME Forum with support from Croydon Council’s Choose Your Future campaign, celebrating young people’s positive choices.The audience at Oasis House, Peall Road, were treated to a fantastic night of live entertainment from solo performers and groups, with acts ranging from dance to DJ sets, from classical Indian music to rap.
On the judging panel were X-Factor 2018 finalist and Croydon resident Rae Elle Williams, Roger Samuels from The Voice 2019; DJ Milktray; Finesse Forever; and Leader of the Council, Councillor Tony Newman; cabinet member for children and young people, Councillor Alisa Flemming. 

The Mayor of Croydon also attended as a special guest.

The evening was hosted by Anthony King (Pass Da Mic) a popular comedian, MC, host and Croydon resident who is known in the community.
Anthony King was joined by a co- hosted on the night.
Inspiring Vanessa a 12 year old Croydon resident who is an international, award – winning motivational speaker, YouTuber, author and child presenter.

The winner in the U16s category was Amare Caleb Yawson a 10 year old Dancer with Karson Reynolds, 13 Singer, from New Addington as runner-up. In the over-16s category, Albert Amankwah Singer 25 scooped the top prize, followed by 2nd Place Jaykwarn Payne Stage Name Azulo 17 Dancer, 3rd Place D’sean Boswell Stage Name KS More Time 17 Rapper / MC.

Preparing for Black History Month 2019

Tuesday 4th June 2019 

As you know, Black History Month is fast approaching and if you would like your event/s to be promoted by the Croydon BME Forum and Croydon Council through their website (which will go live nearer the time) you will need to email the details
by Friday 16th August 2019 to:

Information that would be required date/time a brief description of activity, location and target audience (age).
Please ensure to include whether the event will be a paid or free event.
If you have any pictures from previous Black History Month events or flyer associated with the event please do include.

Blowing the whistle on knife crime

Tuesday 28th May 2019

Over 1,000 people came together at Crystal Palace Football Club to take part in Cut It Out – a fun, football tournament that united the community against knife crime.
The challenge was won by young people from the Premier League Kicks flagship community football programme, who welcomed the chance to pitch their skills on the premier club’s turf.
Cut It Out championed the goals of the council’s Choose Your Future campaign – to unite Croydon against serious youth violence and support young people to make positive choices.
The BME Forum led event was supported by Croydon Council, Croydon Police the Palace for Life Foundation and community groups.

Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities, said: “Councillors were keen to add their support to this event as it took a clear stand against knife crime, and encouraged everyone attending to meet people they may not have met before.
Whether this was through football, competitions, workshops, or the wide range of support services and clubs that attended.”

The young people’s team pitched their skills against Croydon Police, with other teams including All Inclusive Football Team, Croydon All Stars, Croydon Councillors, Croydon Female All Stars, City Hall staff, the Fathers Forum, Lions Society, London Road Businesses, Neighbourhood Safety Officers, and Selhurst Community Team.

First Aid Training – for when seconds count!

Wednesday 22nd May 2019

Join Croydon BME Forum and Street Doctors for FREE first aid training aimed at 14 – 20 year olds.
Focusing on when seconds count and learning how to help if someone is bleeding or unconscious.

C.U.T it Out – Croydon Unites Together 2019

Tuesday 23rd May 2019

In the borough of Croydon, we are working in cohesion to collaborate our various skills across community sectors and are applying them to fight against an increasingly problematic epidemic – Knife crime. As a result, Croydon BME Forum, Croydon Council, Croydon Councillors, the Metropolitan police and local youth organisations have united to organise ‘Cut It Out’ – Croydon Unites together 2019 event.

The event will be taking place on Saturday 25th May 2019 at the world-famous Crystal Palace Football Stadium (Selhurst Park) from 10am – 4pm, where we will be hosting an 11-a-side football match. Also, to be expected on the day are a variety of workshops, performances, and information stalls hosted by organisations that offer support to young people within Croydon community.

Croydon Has Talent

Tuesday 16th April 2019

Calling all talented young people. (Ages 8-25)
From solo acts, group performances, magicians, dancers, novelty acts, gymnasts, singers, comedians.
We’re looking for anything and everything.
There is no act too big or too small. If you have a talent or a skill,we want want to see it.
Our doors are open to anyone between the ages of 8 – 25 years old.

Do not miss the opportunity to showcase your talent.

Two winners will be chosen on the night.
Category A: Under 16’s
Category B: 17 – 25 Year olds
Winners will receive a top prize of £500

Hate Crime

Thursday 4th April 2019
Hate crime not only harms its victims, it also harms their families and communities.

The government is committed to tackling hate crime. We want to raise awareness of what a hate crime is and help people understand that it is not right to target individuals based on their identity.

hate crime is any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim, or anybody else, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone’s:
Sexual orientation
Transgender identity

These aspects are known as ‘protected characteristics’.

A hate crime can include verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment, assault and damage to property.
A hate incident is behaviour which isn’t a crime but which is perceived by the victim, or anybody else, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on the 5 protected characteristics.

Report a hate crime

You can report a hate crime online or call 101 to speak to the police.
Call 999 if you’re reporting a crime that’s in progress or if someone is in immediate danger.

Council increases free support for young people in town centre

Monday 1st April 2019

A popular free support service for young people is increasing its hours in the town centre with additional funding from the council.
Croydon Drop In (CDI)’s Talkbus will now be parked in front of McDonalds, North End on Fridays as well as Thursdays, offering young people free, confidential support and advice on a huge range of issues.
The service operates on a ‘you talk, we listen’ basis, and advises on family support, mental and emotional health and wellbeing, as well as providing a reassuring presence in the town centre,

CDI also offers free counselling for 10-25s, a parent group and signposting to relevant support services, along with information on local and national youth projects.
The team works closely with the council’s youth engagement officers, the police, Croydon BID, local schools, the schools pastors, and other community sector youth providers.
Together they champion the goals of the council’s award-winning Choose Your Future campaign, which supports young people to stay safe and make positive life choices.

A hate crime can include verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment, assault and damage to property.
A hate incident is behaviour which isn’t a crime but which is perceived by the victim, or anybody else, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on the 5 protected characteristics.

Report a hate crime

You can report a hate crime online or call 101 to speak to the police.
Call 999 if you’re reporting a crime that’s in progress or if someone is in immediate danger.

Croydon’s annual Black History Month Theme Launch 2019

Tuesday 19th March 2019

Croydon BME Forum and Croydon Council came together this week (MON 18/3) to launch the theme for Black History Month coming up in October. The launch was hosted at The Mayors parlour at Croydon Town Hall.
Guest speakers included the Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Tony Newman Leader of Croydon Council and Councillors from across the borough including Councillor Patsy Cummings BAME Champion for Croydon and Performances by young people showcasing their talents through spoken word, music and sketches.
The theme was an idea created by the Croydon’s Black History Month Steering group a collaboration of children, young people and older people of the Croydon community. Mayor of Croydon unveiled the theme to 100+ that was in attendance.
This year’s theme is #R.I.D the stigma. Representation, Identity and Diversity. Looking at the way in which people stigmatize over race.
The Black History Month Steering group wanted to emphasize on looking at who they are and how people perceive them.

Andrew Brown CEO Croydon BME Forum said “Stigma is something that effects all of us in some way.
The clothes you wear, the place you live, your race or gender. This year we hope to break down some of these barriers and we look forward to working with groups and partners in Croydon to deliver a wide range of activities to engage and encourage positivity in the community now and throughout Black History Month.

Croydon BME Forum is currently in our 6th year celebrating Black history month acknowledging those who have gone before us in history to make marvellous contributions to the world, as well as celebrating those who continue to do so in order to inspire a new generation of leaders.

Tell us what you think!

Monday 11th March 2019

Join our discussion.

The Croydon BME Forum community development workers would like you to join our conversation on health and wellbeing by filing out a short online survey.

The Community Development Worker’s (CDW’s)Service works with Black Minority Ethnic (BME) service users, local voluntary and statutory organisations who provide services to BME individuals.

CDW’s are a link between providers and service users. They are actively involved in a number of  strategic committees to ensure equality and diversity issues are included in service planning, development, commissioning and delivery.

Telephone:- 02086843719

Get on board the new shopping bus for over 60s in Thornton Heath

Thursday 21st February 2019
Croydon Council is piloting a new shopping bus service for older people in Thornton Heath to support their health and wellbeing and tackle isolation and loneliness among this age group.

The Croydon BME Forum will manage the door-to-door shopping service that begins on Monday 11 March.
For £3 per trip, residents over 60 in the area who need help with their shopping can be picked up from their home and receive return transport to Sainsbury’s supermarket in Purley Way. Volunteers will be on-hand to accompany them around the shop, if this is requested.
People will also have the opportunity to sit down for a chat over a cup of tea or coffee and be informed about other local activities they can participate in.
The shopping bus is currently being run in Thornton Heath with the hope of extending the service if it proves to be popular.
The BME Forum is also seeking more friendly and reliable volunteers to support the shopping bus trips to assist older people on the bus and with their shopping, and to socialise with them.


Croydon has the third largest older population in London and the council is working with its partners to reduce the number of people who are at greater risk of feeling isolated or alone. This can adversely impact on a person’s mental and physical health and increase hospital admissions.

“We are pleased to be working with the BME Forum to deliver this vital shopping service in Thornton Heath. Health and social care services such as these can be a lifeline to many, particularly older residents and those prone to loneliness. This adds to the work of the One Croydon Alliance which helps people remain in their homes with wraparound services to support them. It is important for everyone to feel included in their community and not feel isolated due to a health issue that can restrict their mobility or prevent them from getting out of their home. We hope the shopping bus is a widely used service.”

Councillor Jane Avis, cabinet member for families, health and social care

Advance bookings are required for a seat on the shopping bus as places are limited. To reserve a space, contact Anna D’Agostino, at Croydon BME Forum – Email:  and telephone, 020 2684 3719.

On your marks, get set, fundraise… Stepping out for Croydon’s young people!

Thursday 7th February 2019

On Sunday 5 May is an extra special date in Croydon’s calendar this year – the first large-scale fundraiser for The Lily Pad Appeal – raising £750, 000 for a state-of-the-art Children’s Oncology Unit as part of the new Integrated Paediatric Village at Croydon University Hospital.
With outdated, restrictive layout and facilities, Croydon’s Acute Paediatric Services are now in urgent need of modernisation to ensure they can deliver high-quality, safe, effective care compliant with regional and national standards and meet the steeply-increasing demand as Croydon’s youth population grows. This redevelopment project will transform children’s healthcare for the whole of Croydon, touch the lives of all young people and families in the borough and particularly those bravely fighting cancer.
Lloyd Park will play host to hundreds of Croydonians of all ages stepping out to show their commitment to young people, to upgrading their local hospital and to ensuring we have Paediatric Services and children’s cancer care that Croydon can be proud of.

So, round up your family, friends and colleagues and join your community!
Every step you take gets the seriously ill children in Croydon closer to the facilities they deserve.
Register today – £5 per entrant.
For more details visit:
Call: 01959 570322

Dr Nnenna Osuji, medical director at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, said:
“The new oncology unit will be an extremely important feature used by our young patients who are
dealing with cancer and help smooth the difficult path they face during years of treatment. We
really hope the people of Croydon will support us to help us reach the £750,000 target.”
With two years to raise the £750,000 needed to allow this critical redevelopment project to go
ahead, The Lily Pad Appeal is looking to the people of Croydon to walk in support of our young
people and create the groundswell we need to bring other funders and investors on board.

Croydon BME Forum’s Annual General Meeting

Friday 25th January 2019

The annual general meeting of Croydon BME Forum was held on Thursday 24th January.
The presentation to the community consisted of as introduction of Members of Staff and Board of Trustees.
A long with all the hard work Croydon BME Forum is doing for the community such as…

The Croydon BME Forum welcomed Guest speakers.
-Cllr Patsy Cummings – Deputy Cabinet Member for finance & resources

-Fatima Koroma – Revivify Community Group
-Sandra Johnson – Still I Rise
-Tim Read/ Rob Goldsmith – Diabetes UK Croydon Branch

-Sharon Kilbourne – Community Coordinator, Counter Extremism
-Cllr Hamida Ali – Cabinet member for safer Croydon and Communities

Croydon town centre to be heart of new creative enterprise zone

Monday 21st January 2019

Croydon town centre is to be the heart of the borough’s new creative enterprise zone (CEZ), a cabinet report has revealed.

The area has already seen a boom in creative activity, with both individual creative entrepreneurs and organisations moving in to central Croydon, attracted by the borough’s package of support, and its investment in the arts and more affordable space.

Combined with the borough’s cultural heritage and its major regeneration, this influx of artists and cultural organisations has already created the perfect conditions for creative industries to flourish, the report claims.

In the last six months alone, several new studio spaces and venues have opened up in central Croydon including NEXUS, The Front Room, The Art House, Grafton Quarter, and Conditions, all of whom are partners in Croydon’s CEZ bid. Artist Monica Tolia ([pictured) is among the first group of artists in the new Conditions space, which offers studio space, and training and development support.

The cabinet report, to be considered at Monday’s council meeting (21 Jan), outlines how the council will build on these foundations to develop as a CEZ after successfully bidding to become one of just six across the capital.

On the strength of the borough’s proposal, the Mayor of London awarded Croydon a grant of £500,000 to enable the growth of arts through provision of space, skills and support, policy and community.

In addition the borough will benefit from training and development for new creative businesses, bringing the total investment to over £1m.

Each of London’s CEZ will have its own distinctive character, and Croydon won the funding for its ambitious programme to further the creative sector, including:

• Developing Croydon as a music city – a place that encourages and nurtures emerging talent, breaking down barriers to success in the music industry
• Launching a pioneering new cultural internship programme, offering young people paid work placements with leading national and local arts organisations
• Creating a subsidy scheme for under 25s looking for studio space, which will cover up to 40% of the cost
• Encouraging creative businesses to move to Croydon, through the introduction of business rate relief for creative start-ups and those relocating to Croydon
• Collating an online list of available properties for creative businesses, and launching a start-up incubator programme providing tailored business support.

“Croydon already has a rich cultural heritage and strong identity – the borough is renowned for its urban architecture; its fantastic collection of street art; and as the birthplace of music genres including dubstep and grime.

“We are now gaining a reputation as a borough that invests in and supports the arts, through initiatives like our cultural partnership fund and our investment in venues like the Fairfield Halls, and this is attracting more creative individuals and organisations to our borough.

“Our CEZ plans will ensure that culture continues to be at the heart of Croydon’s regeneration, putting us on the map as a hub for creative enterprise, which is good news for our economy and good news for our community.”

Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport

Volunteering Opportunities with Croydon BME Forum

Tuesday 15th January 2019

Volunteer minibus/shopping escort

Would you help older people living in Thornton Heath to shop and socialise?
We are looking for friendly volunteers who could support older people on shopping trips
You would help our minibus driver with picking up older people from their home, assist them on the minibus, help with shopping and escort them back onto the minibus to their home after tea/coffee.
This project will start in March 2019, initially for one year.

Start date: Monday 4th March

Day/time required: Mondays from 9:30am – 1:30pm

Minimum length of commitment: six months

Funding opportunity for voluntary and community sectors

Thursday 10th January 2019

The One Croydon Alliance is seeking to fund local voluntary and community groups to provide services or activities that will help reduce social isolation and loneliness. The service aims to target people over 55, with complex health or care needs including those with dementia and mental health conditions.
Recurrent and one off funding is available in the region of £1000 – £5000 per initiative.
Higher amounts for exceptional initiatives can be discussed with the community facilitators.

Who can apply?
-Voluntary and community organisations delivering services to Croydon residents amd those registered with Croydon GP’S.
-You must be able to demonstrate how you link with other local groups and organisations.

Email:  to be sent a funding pack put a LVP Funding Application in subject title.

Croydon mourns one of its longest-serving, ‘most dedicated’ Councillors

Tuesday 08th January 2019

Croydon Council this week mourns one of its longest-serving and ‘most dedicated’ members, and former Mayor of Croydon, councillor Maggie Mansell, who has died following a short illness.
Council members and officers have paid tribute to Maggie, who was first elected to the council in 1986 and held several key cabinet and committee posts. Over the years she made a huge contribution, particularly in the arenas of health and social care.
“It is with great sadness that we receive the news of the passing of one of our most dedicated, compassionate and long-serving councillors, Maggie Mansell.“Maggie helped thousands of people and made a real difference, particularly in the field of health. She was campaigning right up until the end.
“We will remember her passion for equality and justice, her caring nature and her unswerving commitment to our community. She will be sadly missed, and our thoughts are with her family.”

Born and bred in Croydon, Maggie was educated, lived and worked in the borough. She dedicated much of her life to public service, helping thousands of people across the borough.
She was following a family tradition – her father John Blackwood was a principle planning officer for Croydon in the 1950s, and was instrumental in the borough’s bid for city status in 1953.
A biomedical scientist, Maggie worked for the NHS and later as a management consultant before becoming a full-time councillor. She was awarded a Fellowship of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences in 1970; gained a BA from the Open University; MBA from Keele University in 1992, and was made a Member of the Institute of Health Management in 1993.
She was first elected to Croydon Council as a Labour councillor in 1986, when she won West Thornton ward. She held that post until 1990, returning as a ward councillor for Norbury in 1994, and later Norbury and Pollards Hill, until present day.
In her time as councillor she has sat on the social services committee, and chaired the childrens sub-committee, and the environmental health and consumer services committee. She served as cabinet member for crime and public protection, and chair of the health and wellbeing board, and was instrumental in establishing the Healthy Croydon Partnership. In 2005, she became the 123rd Mayor of Croydon. Throughout her career, she also served as a governor at several Croydon schools.
At the time of her death, in addition to being an active ward councillor for Norbury and Pollards Hill, Maggie was Dementia Champion and sat on the health and wellbeing, and pension, boards.

The Town Hall flag is flying at half-mast in tribute to Maggie and there is a book of condolences available to sign in the Town Hall reception.

Success for South Norwood’s £1million
Good Growth Fund bid

Wednesday 02nd January 2019

A project to improve the high streets and public spaces of South Norwood has been successful in receiving more than £1million in funding from the Greater London Authority.
Re-imagining the Everyday Spaces in South Norwood was awarded £1.16m from the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund. The bid, which was submitted by Croydon Council and partners We Love SE25 (South Norwood’s town team made up of local community organisations, businesses, residents’ groups and local councillors).
Croydon is also match-funding the value of the bid, creating a total combined budget of £2.3m for the three-year project, which aims to deliver high streets where local businesses thrive and job opportunities are created across both the South Norwood and Woodside wards.

The project will see the council and We Love SE25 work with residents, businesses, landlords and community groups to help bring empty premises back into use as retail and workspaces for creative and social enterprises. Community buildings within the high streets will become active places, bringing together residents, helping to create a resilient town centre reflecting the creativity and diversity of its people.The project will invest in community hubs including the Samuel Coleridge Taylor Centre, Socco Cheta community centre, Stanley Halls and the Croydon Youth Theatre Organisation. It will also contribute to the future use of South Norwood Library once the service moves to its new home on Station Road.

It will bring around 25 empty properties on Station Road, High Street, Selhurst Road and Portland Road back into use as workspace and retail space, as well as making improvements to the area’s public realm and supporting the community’s businesses and social enterprises, both old and new.

The money will be received by the council in April 2019. The council will now begin work with partners and stakeholders to plan and schedule the programme of works for the next three years.

“It’s great that we’ve got funding from the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund to support the continued drive to improve South Norwood for the local community. This will go a long way towards delivering South Norwood’s Community Economic Development Plan.

“This is the result of a lot of hard work over recent years by the local community and councillors working through We Love SE25 and supported by dedicated Croydon Council staff. Congratulations to everyone involved in this successful bid.

“However, the hard work has not finished yet – officers and members will be working closely with We Love SE25 to deliver the changes that local residents have identified.

“From April we’ll begin using the funds to deliver positive changes for South Norwood and I can’t wait for it to start. As the Chair of People for Portland Road I am proud of the work and dedication this and many other local groups and individuals are putting into improving their local neighbourhood.

Councillor Paul Scott, cabinet lead for regeneration and planning, who represents Woodside Ward, the southern half of South Norwood

Councillor Patsy Cummings, Chair of We Love SE25, said: “This is fantastic news for South Norwood and a validation of years of hard work residents, businesses and community organisations have put into developing our Community Plan.

“We have a wealth of creative and entrepreneurial talent in our area. This award will allow us to develop real opportunities to realise our potential in the heart of the community.

“These are ambitious plans and We Love SE25 is proud to be a partner for the delivery of those plans.”

London’s Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, said: “This is a great example of a project which aims to give Londoners of all backgrounds the opportunity to be actively involved in shaping how their city develops. The Mayor and I are committed to supporting ‘good growth’ by building a city where all Londoners have access to the same opportunities and I look forward to seeing the positive impact this project has in the future.”

Croydon BME Forum planning
Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Tuesday 18th December 2018

Croydon BME Forum are holding an Annual  General Meeting (AGM).
On Thursday 24th January 2019 beginning at 6:00pm at the Croydon BME Forum 56a Mitcham Road Croydon cr0 3rg.

Come along and learn more about what Croydon BME Forum have been up to in 2017/18 and what is in store for 2019.

Croydon BME Forum and ELC Associates joint low cost social media 

Monday 10th December 2018
Croydon BME Forum and ELC Associates jointly announce Croydon’s only low cost charity digital marketing skills training workshop to be held at their offices on 14 January 2019 from 9-12.30pm.
In this ‘taster’ session, charities will learn how to harness the power of digital PR and content marketing to raise awareness, recruit supporters, donors etc.

Tayo Idowu of ELC Associates said “Many small charities are scared of the digital world, thinking it’s very expensive and the realms of so called ‘marketing gurus and so are therefore missing out on the huge opportunities technology can bring. Our aim is to dispel this mindset.”

He continues: “Through our low cost introductory sessions we hope to show charities that by acquiring basic digital marketing skills they can be more cost effective in the way they promote their services, engage with beneficiaries, supporters, volunteers and potential donors.”

Know my mind challenge mental health stereotypes.

Monday 03rd December 2018

A play about mental health by a former social worker will have a one-off performance in Croydon this weekend.

The performance of So U Think I’m Crazy?, written by Ekanem Hines and co-produced with  psychologist Rhian Tait, will take place at The FrontRoom in St Georges Walk and will include a Q&A panel with mental health professional practitioners. Its aim is to reach younger audiences through conversations around mental health. 

Hines, a retired social worker who lives in Croydon, wrote the play in 2013 after some persuasion from a friend. Since its 2014 debut, So U Think I’m Crazy? has been showcased around the UK at venues including The Albany and Ovalhouse.

She said the play uses the “versatility of song, dance, poetry and drama to convey the journey of a young African-Caribbean man’s physical and spiritual journey which leads to incarceration in a psychiatric ward”.

The show will feature actors and volunteers from the community theatre group, kNOw My Mind, which Hines co-founded in 2014. She said she used her 30 years of experience as a social worker to help the cast prepare for the show.

She added: “The play is about child sex abuse, bereavement, poverty, relationships, housing situations…it is titled ‘So You Think I’m Crazy?’ because it is questioning who you think is the crazy one. Not everyone wants to embrace those particular subjects. We are speaking on issues that are quite difficult to talk about and opening up a hub for people to talk.”

The play is funded by the Croydon BME Forum and Croydon Council.

Hines said the support of the council was fundamental to its success when the play opened on World Mental Health Day in October. She praised Councillor Janet Campbell, a new black councillor for Croydon, for showing her support for kNOw My Mind and the production.

Andrew Brown, who became CEO of Croydon BME Forum 13 months ago, said: “When I first saw the play, it really hit home. I think that it speaks about issues that are really close to me and what I care about. I want Croydon BME Forum to be a wellness hub where people can speak about mental health openly.”

The performance of So U Think I’m Crazy? will start at 5pm at The FrontRoom on St George’s Walk. Tickets can be purchased here: or they are £12 on the door.

Journey to Journalism – Work experience Programme.

Monday 26th November 2018
Would you like the opportunity to do 1 – 2 weeks work experience with a national newspaper?

Sarah Jones MP and Croydon BME Forum are joining forces to bring this opportunity to BME Young people living in Croydon Central, to give them the experience to work with The Times, The Telegraph, DailyMail, Daily and Sunday express, Metro and The Sun.

Full terms and conditions on how to apply can be found here

Telephone:- 02081917066

Whitehorse Manor Junior School students showcase posters at Black
History Launch

Monday 9th October 2018

Students from Whitehorse Manor Junior School main site and Brigstock  site were invited to participate at the launch of the Black History
Month on Tuesday 2nd October 2018 at the Speroni’s Restaurant,  Selhurst Park Stadium Whitehorse Lane.

They were invited by Music Relief Foundation a youth organisation to design posters to be displayed on the night with this  year’s theme
Headteachers on both site’s Nina Achenbach and Nicola Hall did a  splendid job of coordinating the students in producing lovely arrays  of posters celebrating black heroes both past and present.

The children were very delighted to be invited to the event, and on the night they were called upon by Magdalene Adenaike CEO of Music  Relief Foundation to receive their certificates of participation from  Madam Mayor Bernadette Khan

The Black History launch was coordinated by the Croydon BME Forum and  the event was hosted by their CEO Andrew Brown, who was very pleased  
with the quality and talents displayed by the children with their  posters.

The night was filled with inspiring and wonderful talks by Tony Newman  Leader of the council, Jo Negrini CEO Croydon Council, Jeff Boothe  Chief Superintendent Croydon Metropolitan Police, Althea Efunshile  CBE, Soye Briggs Director of Development Crystal Palace, William  Awomoyi Croydon Young Mayor, and councilors Patsy Cummings and Janet  Campbell.

There are several events taking place right through the month and  further information can be found on the Croydon BME Forum website.

A Memorable Visit to Kew Gardens

Monday 24th September 2018

As part of the Croydon Community Fund – Green spaces we organised a day trip to Kew Gardens in early September for the Elmwood Community Centre, an Asian women’s organisation in Croydon.

The group of 49 ladies travelled were really excited about the trip! A few of them had never visited the Garden before and expressed their joy by singing and chatting about it during the journey.

They all enjoyed the visit and the feedback clearly indicated the great enjoyment of “walking in the fresh air”, the “educational experience” and the appreciation for Croydon BME Forum “thank you to everyone who made an effort to make this journey very interesting”.

Until September 2019, the Green Spaces programme will offer the group more opportunities to walk in parks, joining exercise sessions, healthy cooking and learning more about healthy lifestyles.

Countdown to Croydon’s Black History Month 2018

Monday 17th September 2018

Every year in October, Croydon joins the rest of the UK in celebrating black history month.Croydon BME Forum are working with Croydon Council and PALACE FOR LIFE FOUNDATION to create the marquee event to celebrate Black History Month in Croydon.

The theme of this year’s Black History Month is “HEROES TO HERITAGE”.

This is our 5th year celebrating Black history month acknowledging those who have gone before us in history to make marvellous contributions to the world, as well as celebrating those who continue to do so in order to inspire a new generation of leaders.

  • 2017 – Celebrating Communities – a tribute to Black Institutions
  • 2016 – Young Achievers
  • 2015 – Women in Leadership
  • 2014 – History for Tomorrow

This year we wanted to mix it up, make it a little different by having an inter-generational group come together to identify the theme, locate speakers and suggest creative ideas for launch.
The events programme for black history month includes workshops, exhibitions, talks, conferences, performances, matches film screenings and more across the borough.
Croydon’s events compliment a wider programme of activities nationally.

TV Licensing Simple Payment Plan

Monday 10th September 2018

One month to go to sign up for TV Licensing’s new, more affordable way to pay

TV Licensing is trialling a new payment plan, which is available to people who are struggling financially and finding it difficult to pay the Licence Fee.
The Simple Payment Plan is TV Licensing’s most affordable plan to date, as payments work out at around £3 a week.
There are a number of benefits of the plan, including:

  • * Spreading the cost of the licence over 12 months, which is different to current payment plans
  • * No short dating – the licence will start on the day you register for the plan
  • * Ability to spread missed payment across future payments
  • * Ability to carry over missed payments to next licence (limited to 2 months)

The closing date to sign up is 30 September 2018.
If you feel you could be eligible for the plan, speak to a Croydon BME Forum adviser or visit:

We are working with TV Licensing to remind our clients that they need to be covered by a valid TV Licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel. This could be on any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder. You also need a TV Licence if you download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer. 

You can pay for a TV Licence all in one go, or spread the cost weekly, monthly or quarterly. For more information on the ways to pay, go to   

There are also concessions available if you’re over 75, registered blind or severely sight-impaired, or if you live in supported living, sheltered or care home accommodation, so get in touch to see if you are eligible. More recently, TV Licensing has introduced a Simple Payment Plan for those who are in financial difficulty. This is the most affordable plan to date, with payments working out at around £3 a week. If you feel you may be eligible for this, please do come and speak to one of our advisers.  

For more information, including how to buy a Licence, visit or call 0300 790 6112. 

Celebtrities gather to mark 10 year anniversary of Daniel De-Gale

On Saturday 6th October 2018, leading blood cancer charity ACLT  will see the return of their much-loved fundraising event ‘Gift of Life Celebrity Fundraising Ball’.

The black and white themed ball will take place at the newly refurbished dining suite at the Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, London.

ACLT held their first Gift of Life ball in 2000 launching with huge success securing support from high profile personalities such as Ian Wright, John Fashanu, John Barnes, Duchess of York, Prince, Jimmy Choo, Gabrielle, Karen Millen and Anthony Anderson (to name a few), raising over £800k for the charity in its 10 year reign.
In 2009 the ball came to an end, one year after the charity co-founders Beverley De-Gale OBE and Orin Lewis OBE, son, Daniel De-Gale, passed away from multiple  organ failure.


Doubling up as the formal ‘celebration of the life and legacy’ of Daniel De-Gale, the Gift of Life ball will also serve as an awareness and fundraising event  to support ACLT’s necessary lifesaving work within the area of stem cell (bone marrow), blood and organ donation.

For 10 years, the Gift of Life Ball was one of the most talked about charity events on the African Caribbean social calendar, with over 50 celebrities, entrepreneurs and professionals from diverse backgrounds in attendance, attracting a vast amount of media interest.


Over the 10-year life span of the Gift of Life event, well known faces from the world of TV, film, sports and entertainment played the role of table hosts to much of the diner’s surprise and enjoyment. This year celebrity table hosts will return; those who are currently confirmed include; ITV News Journalist Ronke Phillips, Actress Diane Parish, Author and Entrepreneur Jessica Huie, Spoken Word Artist George the Poet, MOBO Awards founder Kanya King, Mastermind winner and ITV’s The Chase Shaun Wallace, ComedianAngie Le Mar, with more to be announced.

Entertainment on the night will be provided by X Factor 2012 runner up Jahméne Douglas,  saxophonist and composer Yolanda Brown, and ACLT Ambassador and Spoken word artist George the Poet, with further performances to be announced.

Black History Month is FAST approaching.

Monday 13th August 2018

Croydon BME Forum, in partnership with Croydon Council and Palace 4 Life Foundation, will launch Black History Month on Tuesday 2nd October 2018. The theme selected for 2018 by the Black History Month committee (an intergenerational group of Croydon residents) is ‘Heroes and Heritage: Past 2 Present’.

This is the fifth year in which the Croydon BME Forum has taken a lead in celebrating Black History Month in the borough as we acknowledge those who have gone before us in history to make marvellous contributions to the world, as well as celebrating a new generation of leaders who inspire us now.  As such, we will be using this opportunity to showcase the work of young people around the borough of Croydon and nationally who have, in one way or another, been a role model or have strong connections with their heritage and understanding of their history. This may be through academia, arts, theatre, dance, poetry, spoken word, sports, music and technology – although this list is not exhaustive.


Profiling your event

If you would like your event/s to be promoted by Croydon Council, through their website (which will go live nearer the time), please email the details to  us at by Monday 3rd September 2018.

We’ve already had some really good events submitted so far, but do keep them coming in order that we can help publicise your event. In addition, if you have any photographs from previous events, or that are associated with your current event – that you have permission to share – please send them over too, as we may be able to feature some in the programme.

Support from Croydon BME Forum

Croydon BME Forum will be supporting organisations to plan, promote and deliver events.  In addition, we are also offering free hire of our venue for Black History events from October to December 2018. Get in touch to find out how you can reserve a space.

Council funding opportunities can be found here:

Are you interested in Engineering?

Tuesday 28th July 2018

Do you want to spend the day with one of the largest engineering companies in the world?

Croydon BME Forum is working with Talent Match and Tideway to bring with this exciting opportunity to young people aged 14 to 24 years old.

If you are interested, please email or call 02086843719.
Or you can register directly on Eventbrite.

Parents and carers are also welcome to attend on the day.
For more information about the full timetable of activities check out eventbrite.

Croydon’s young people choose positive futures

Monday 23rd July 2018

Over 200 young people attended Croydon Youth Summit on Saturday 21st July 2018 to share their views on knife crime. 

The speakers included Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, who praised Croydon for its partnership work in tackling youth violence, which he held up Met wide as ‘good practice’.
The 11-24year-olds put their questions and concerns to him, and to a wide range of senior borough representatives, including, Chief Superintendent Jeff Boothe, Croydon Council Leader, Tony Newman and MPs Sarah Jones and Steve Reed.

Gwenton Sloley from Crying Sons (an organisation set up to support boys and men caught up in gangs and serious violence) was also there to offer support, along with, Councillor Hamida Ali, Cabinet Member for Safer Croydon and Communities. Councillor, Alisa Flemming, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Learning and William Awomoyi – Croydon Youth Mayor.

The free event, at BRIT School, was organised by Croydon BME Forum, with support from Croydon Council, 20 young people and community organisations and a network of professional services who support young people. 

Councillor Hamida Ali, Cabinet Member for Safer Croydon and Communities, said: “Working together with Croydon BME Forum, CVA and the many other voluntary groups who are supporting young people in Croydon is making a difference.”

The summit was also an opportunity to raise awareness of the council’s Choose Your Future campaign, which aims to unite Croydon against serious youth violence, and encourage young people to make positive choices.

Croydon BME Forum CEO, Andrew Brown, said: “Why young people get involved in violent crime is complex, and the Youth Summit gave them the chance to come together and express their concerns, which included peer pressure and poor parenting.

“Follow ups will include working with the Youth Mayor and other young people to engage with harder to reach young people.There are also plans for another summit during term time, which will include parents.” The summit was funded by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), as part of a £50,000 grant that the BME Forum secured to support 11-24 year olds away from knife crime and serious youth violence.”

Some of the key discussion points to emerge from the Summit included:

* The complexities associated with why people get involved in violent crime could not be put down to a single factor or reason. It is likely to be a combination of factors. However, reasons given ranged from peer pressure to poor parenting to over zealousness of some police officers using ‘stop and search’ in a heavy-handed way to poverty and cuts in police services.

* There was a particular concern that the image of violent youth crime was somehow particular to the black community, specifically, black boys.

* Some people felt that ‘snitching culture encouraged by the police’ will not work because there may not be the support for those informants. Police were keen to express the need for greater community support in solving crimes.

* Addiction theory was thought to be an area of exploration as this offers an explanation linked to medical conditioning in the same way one can become addicted to drugs; that is, violence begat violence until it becomes a ’craving’.

* The absence of maternal and paternal influenced was said to be another factor leading to negative outlook and outcomes for some (i.e. a mental health perspective).

* The high level of exclusion, ‘leaving many to wonder the streets looking for something to do’ was yet another reason put forward.

Supporting Our Windrush Generation – Our Rights in the UK

Tuesday 22nd May 2018

Those arriving in the UK between 1948 and 1971 from Caribbean countries have been labelled the Windrush generation. It is unclear how many people belong to the Windrush generation, since many of those who arrived as children travelled on parents’ passports and never applied for travel documents – but they are thought to be in their thousands.

There are now 500,000 people resident in the UK who were born in a Commonwealth country and arrived before 1971 – including the Windrush arrivals – according to estimates by Oxford University’s Migration Observatory.

Since implementation of the 1971 Immigration Act, Commonwealth citizens already living in the UK were given indefinite leave to remain. After this, a British passport-holder born overseas could only settle in the UK if they firstly had a work permit and, secondly, could prove that a parent or grandparent had been born in the UK. The Home Office did not keep a record of those granted leave to remain or issue any paperwork confirming it – meaning it is difficult for Windrush arrivals to prove they are in the UK legally.

Many who came from British colonies that had not achieved independence, believed they were British citizens however, now many who lack documents are now being told they need evidence to continue working, get treatment from the NHS – or even to remain in the UK. Changes to immigration law in 2012, which require people to have documentation to work, rent a property or access benefits, including healthcare, have left people fearful about their status

Croydon Council therefore invites Commonwealth British Citizens to an information and advice event supporting Croydon residents and their families affected by the Windrush issues.

Speakers will include representatives from:

Home Office • Elected Representatives • Immigration Specialists

Job Opportunity at Croydon BME Forum

Thursday 17th May 2018

BME Training & Awareness Officer at Croydon BME Forum (2 days per week across Lambeth, Croydon & Bromley/ 1 year):

The post-holder will increase the awareness and knowledge for the BME Communities in Croydon, Bromley and Lambeth around
domestic abuse and other related topics, by providing training and awareness sessions and workshops to statutory, voluntary and private sector organisations and local community groups.

Hours: 2 days (0.4 FTE)
Location: Lambeth, Croydon and Bromley
Organisation: Bromley & Croydon Women’s Aid
Contract Type: Fixed Term (1 year)
Salary: £10,394

Deadline: 4th June 2018 / midday

Interviews: Training & Awareness Officer role on 11th June, Outreach Officer on 12th June.

Please email or call us on 0208 313 9303 for an application pack.

Female applicants only.

In light of the nature of work, the candidate’s race and gender is considered to be an
occupational requirement in accordance with Schedule 9 (part 1) of the Equality Act 2010.

Bromley & Croydon Women’s Aid (BCWA), Asha Projects and Croydon BME Forum are seeking to recruit 3 new part-time roles as part of a 1-year BME Women’s Project across Lambeth, Croydon and Bromley.
The BME Women’s Project is a 1-year project aims to offer both prevention and bespoke support services for BME women who suffer or are at risk of domestic abuse and other forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG).
We are well-established, innovative and forward thinking domestic abuse/ BME specialist services and are seeking self-motivated, flexible and experienced individuals to join our dynamic teams to help us deliver excellent services to vulnerable BME women who have experienced domestic abuse.

Serious Violence Strategy

Monday 9th April 2018

The Serious Violence Strategy sets out the government’s response to serious violence and recent increases in knife crime, gun crime and homicide.

Law enforcement is a very important part of the Serious Violence Strategy, but it also looks at the root causes of the problem and how to support young people to lead productive lives away from violence.

Action in the strategy is centred on 4 main themes:

  • tackling county lines and misuse of drugs
  • early intervention and prevention
  • supporting communities and local partnerships
  • law enforcement and the criminal justice response

The strategy describes a range of initiatives including:

  • a new £11 million Early Intervention Youth Fund to support communities for early intervention and prevention with young people for 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020
  • the development of a new National County Lines Co-ordination Centre to tackle violent and exploitative criminal activity associated with county lines
  • funding to help deliver a new round of heroin and crack action areas
  • more rounds of the anti-knife crime Community Fund of up to £1 million for 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020
  • more funding for young people’s advocates working with gang-affected young women and girls

The strategy focuses on early intervention and prevention which can help catch young people before they go down the wrong path, encouraging them to make positive choices.

The strategy is supported by a media campaign raising awareness about the risks of carrying knives.

Knife Crime: £50,000 Grant given to Croydon group to stamp out Problem

Tuesday 27th March 2018

For Andrew Brown, stamping out knife crime has always been a priority.
So when the interim CEO at Croydon BME Forum found out his group had been awarded a £50,000 grant to do just that, he knew he had to make it count.
“People might see an article every week about someone being stabbed, but the issue goes much deeper than that,” Mr Brown said.
“Croydon has been really badly affected over the last two years and now with this money, we’re hoping to bring about a real change.”

An ‘umbrella’ group, BME plans to spread the money across five Croydon-based organisations, each with its own plan of tackling the growing knife problem.

 But as the 45-year-old says, the hardest part about running a volunteer group is simply staying open.
“In the voluntary sector a lot are doing good work,” Mr Brown said.

“But they don’t last because they don’t have the money.
“What we will be doing is to make sure they are sustainable over another 12 months.”The funding comes as part of an anti-knife initiative by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan that will see a total of £1.4 million given out to groups across the capital.

“Prevention is the most effective tool we have,” Mr Khan said
“With the funds announced today, these community and grass-roots projects will be able to help root out violence within our communities and give more young Londoners the skills, support and aspirations they need to turn away from crime and fulfil their potential.”

BME plans to work hand in hand with the chosen groups (Music Relief, ANOS, Lions Society, Alliance Society and one still to be chosen) to combine their knowledge of the area.
“Everyone is doing really good work, but it isn’t coordinated at times,” Mr Brown said.”I could be working with one man, but three other organisations could be working with the same young man.


This is how £50,000 is going to be spent in Croydon to tackle Knife Crime.

Sunday 25th March 2018

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has given tens of thousands of pounds to Croydon organisations to tackle knife crime in the borough.
Croydon BME Forum, Lions society, Another Night of Sisterhood (ANOS) and Music Relief have all been chosen to benefit from the mayor’s £1.4 million anti-knife crime fund.
Croydon BME Forum has been given £49,736 to deliver training and support to organisations. The money will be spent on helping young people aged from eight to 25 who are at risk of being recruited into gangs and offending as well as supporting their parents.
Andrew Brown, interim CEO of Croydon BME Forum, said: “The funding will help us deliver capacity building training and support to five grassroots organisations who provide activities for people affected by knife crime in Croydon, reaching at least 60 people over a 12-month period.”


Croydon BME Forum – £49,736 to deliver training and support to five grassroots organisations who provide activities for people affected by knife crime in Croydon, reaching at least 60 people.
He added: “The second part of the programme will support five groups to continue with the good work they are doing in tackling the underlying issues surrounding knife crime.
“The groups will deliver a programme of activities to parents and young people aged eight to 25 [who are] at risk of offending, being recruited into gangs, at risk of becoming, or not in education, employment or training (NEET).
“And for parents who feel excluded from their children’s lives.”

Within the workshops offered Mr Brown says there will be music therapy, community empowerment, employment and awareness of social media.
A mentoring system, where groups go into five schools in the borough, will also be able to happen, as well as 1,000 hours of outreach support in the north of Croydon.

He added: “The problem is that the small groups are doing wonderful work, but they are not getting the money in, and they have to pay bills.”

MP for Croydon Central, Sarah Jones, who was involved in lobbying the Mayor’s office to secure the funding, hopes it will make a difference.She said: “There’s obviously still a lot of priority to be given to knife crime by the government, but I think it’s a really good model.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “As Mayor, I’m doing everything possible in London not only to be tough on knife crime, but tough on the causes of knife crime too.
“City Hall has stepped up where the government is letting our young people down.
“We are providing unprecedented additional funds to the Met Police, driving forward a full and comprehensive knife crime strategy and our new young Londoners fund will help many young people to thrive, prosper and make the right choices to avoid being sucked into a life of crime.
“Prevention is the most effective tool we have.
“These community and grass-roots projects will be able to help root out violence within our communities and give more young Londoners the skills, support and aspirations they need to turn away from crime and fulfil their potential.”


Croydon BME Forum has been successfully chosen as one of the First anti-knife crime projects to benefit from new £1.4m fund

Friday 23rd March 2018

Nine community and grassroots anti-knife initiatives across London have received a share of £250,000 from City Hall as part of the Mayor’s comprehensive strategy to tackle violence and knife crime across the capital, with a further £1.15m to be awarded later this spring.

The successful groups work with young people to help prevent and protect them from knife crime. They include a boxing club in Brixton, music training in Hackney and Tower Hamlets, and support workshops and activities in Croydon, Southwark, and Lambeth.

The funding is part of Sadiq Khan’s comprehensive Knife Crime Strategy published in June 2017, which included a £250,000 Knife Crime Community Seed Fund. Since then, Sadiq has provided an additional £1.15m for these projects through his new Young Londoners Fund, taking the total to £1.4m.

The first nine projects to benefit are:

Croydon BME Forum – £49,736 to deliver training and support to five grassroots organisations who provide activities for people affected by knife crime in Croydon, reaching at least 60 people

Somali Relief and Islamic cultural centre – £6,337 to deliver five community consultation events for 100 Somali parents and young people in Southwark to raise awareness of knife crime

Hammersmith and Fulham Anti-Tribalism Movement – £31,173 for the Anti-Tribalism Movement to work in partnership with Council of Somali Organisations, delivering the ‘Quit Knives Saves Lives Desistance Programme’. This programme is a much-needed programme to tackle the spike in anti-social behaviour affecting young Somali men living in London.

Mancunian Way – £8,650 to deliver an outreach project from a community centre reaching around 100 young estate residents engaged in or at risk of knife crime in Hackney

Dwaynamics CIC – £49,780 to provide boxing and health activities to 192 young people in Lambeth and run a series of knife crime workshops

The Flavasum Trust – £14,016 to deliver awareness-raising workshops to 4,000 pupils in 20 London schools in areas worst affected by knife crime, including Newham, Lambeth and Tower Hamlets.

Raw Material Music and Media Education – £34,498 to support 50 young people in Brixton who are offenders, or are at risk of offending, to engage in creative activities and training and employment workshops over 40 weeks

WISE Youth Trust – £20,000 to deliver workshops, music production and digital media skills courses for 150 young people in Hackney and Tower Hamlets

ML Community Enterprise – £32,664 to deliver a therapeutic support project for 24 young male and female victims of crime and violence in Lambeth

During the development of the Mayor’s Strategy and his new anti-knife crime campaign, ‘London Needs You Alive’, many of the young people consulted said they want to be engaged with by people from their communities who they know and trust, and who have experienced some of the same issues and challenges around knife crime.

With that in mind, the community funding has been boosted to £1.4m by the Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund, created by Sadiq to support education, sport and cultural activities for young people to help tackle knife crime and youth violence, which has been rising across the country since 2014. In contrast to this investment by the Mayor, central government continues to cut vital services including £22m from London’s youth services since 2011, which has resulted in the closure of some 30 youth centres that had served at least 12,700 young Londoners*.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “As Mayor, I’m doing everything possible in London not only to be tough on knife crime, but tough on the causes of knife crime too.

“City Hall has stepped up where the government is letting our young people down. We are providing unprecedented additional funds to the Met police, driving forward a full and comprehensive Knife Crime Strategy and our new Young Londoners Fund will help many young people to thrive, prosper and make the right choices to avoid being sucked into a life of crime.

“Prevention is the most effective tool we have, and with the funds announced today, these community and grass-roots projects will be able to help root out violence within our communities and give more young Londoners the skills, support and aspirations they need to turn away from crime and fulfil their potential.”

Pastor Lorraine Jones, Dwaynamics, said: “We are thrilled and extremely excited to have been granted funding from the Mayor’s Community Seed Fund. This funding will go directly towards our new Errol Christie Awards initiative which will tackle the issues surrounding knife crime through a number of workshops, supported by sports programmes through boxing from which Dwaynamics was founded. This work will ensure that our at-risk youth have the support, love, and attention they need to go on to be the champions we know they are whether it be in their professional or personal lives. The Errol Christie awards will be the defining factor when a young man or woman makes their most important life decisions. This will keep them dedicated and focussed, steering them away from the growing gang culture we have seen in Lambeth. The legacy of my son Dwayne Simpson lives on”

The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) will work with the successful bidders to provide mentoring and support, and to assist in building relationships with Safer Neighbourhood Boards. The Knife Crime Community Seed Fund is being managed by London Community Foundation.

Rosie Tharp, London Community Foundation, said: “We are delighted that MOPAC has committed funding to support the voluntary and community sector to respond to knife crime. These small charities and organisations face many challenges and are often run by volunteers and goodwill. It is positive that MOPAC recognises that community organisations are well-placed to tackle knife crime and has made funding available to support a range of services and interventions in priority areas across London.”

Later this week, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime will bring together representatives from the Met Police, local authorities, the NHS and London’s communities in a public Policing Matters meeting at City Hall, as work continues to drive forward the Mayor’s public health approach to tackle knife crime in the capital.

Home Office uses real-life cases in #knifefree ad campaign

Friday 23rd March 2018

An advertising campaign to reduce knife crime among young people featuring real cases has been launched in England and Wales amid warnings of a stabbing epidemic in London.

The £1.35m Home Office campaign will target 10- to 21-year-olds on social media and digital TV channels. A poster campaign will be displayed in English cities where knife crime is prevalent.

The #knifefree adverts focus on real stories of young people who decided not to carry a knife in an effort to inspire others to pursue positive alternatives, the department said.

The campaign forms part of the government’s forthcoming serious violence strategy, and comes as the number of fatal shootings and stabbings since January in London .

Patrick Green, the chief executive of the Ben Kinsella Trust which is named after the 16-year-old London boy stabbed in 2008, said: “It is vitally important that we help young people understand the dangers associated with carrying a knife. A knife won’t protect you, it doesn’t give you status; harming or stabbing someone isn’t a trivial act.

“We need to do more to help young people understand that carrying a knife doesn’t solve anything, in fact all it does is increase the likelihood that you will be imprisoned, seriously injured or murdered.

“Introducing young people to the life stories of others who have faced the same challenges but have chosen to live knife-free is a powerful way to help them make more positive choices.”

The ads, which will run for six weeks, are based on research which found that real-life stories of young people talking about their experiences with knives resonated with the target audience.

They point young people to a dedicated website which provides advice, information on support services and activities aimed at empowering them to change their behaviour.

The home secretary, Amber Rudd, said: “The emotional stories at the heart of the new Knife Free campaign bring home in powerful fashion just what a far-reaching impact it can have on a young person’s life if they make the misguided decision to carry a knife.

“I hope any young person who is seriously thinking about carrying a knife listens to what the implications can be and realises what options are available if they choose to live knife-free.”

The government has consulted on new laws on offensive and dangerous weapons, including banning online stores from delivering knives to residential addresses and making it an offence to possess certain weapons in private.

Social isolation and BME older people in Croydon

Tuesday 20th March 2018

Croydon BME Forum held an event to discuss the key issues around social isolation and BME older people in Croydon. The issue (and possible solutions) were summarised in a report that the Community Development Worker for older adult had produced as a result of the engagement with local health/social care professionals and older people.

Cllrs Louisa Woodley (Cabinet Member for Families, Health and Social Care) and her Deputy (Cllr Patsy Cummings) joined eighty-two participants, including social workers, voluntary sector staff and older people themselves. Police officers, a representative from Transport for London and a senior therapist from Croydon Psychological Therapies and Wellbeing Service answered questions from the audience.

The report will be finalised and circulated by Thursday 5th April 2018. For any queries, or if you are interested in receiving a copy, please contact Anna DAgostino, Community Development Worker (older adults) at or call 020 8684 3719

Croydon’s Young Mayor announced!

Thursday 15th March 2018

Croydon’s young people have elected William Awomoyi to be the borough’s first ever Young Mayor and a new voice for London’s largest youth population.

William, 14, a pupil at The Cedars School, was tonight (15 March) revealed as the winner of first Croydon’s Young Mayor Election. Shea Williams, 15, who attends Harris Academy South Norwood, will serve as Deputy Young Mayor after winning the second highest number of votes.

Together they will represent Croydon’s 93,500 under-18s – that’s 1 in 20 young Londoners – and play a key role in local decision-making, ensuring that young people’s views are heard on the issues that matter to them.

William campaigned on his manifesto, and his main aims were preventing youth crime and safety. His campaign video can be seen here. Shea’s top manifesto aims were out of school careers and workshops. Her campaign video can be seen here. Both their manifestos are available in full at

Both were elected following an exciting three-week campaign in which 28 candidates aged 11-17 from across the borough battled it out for the top job. Highlights included Young Mayor boot camp; a Speaker’s Corner-style debate in the town centre and a public question time where candidates were quizzed on a huge range of local issues.

More than 12,000 young people aged 11-18 headed to the ballot boxes in schools, colleges and community centres on polling day – a new local record for youth democracy.

After the results were announced tonight William said: “When they said my name I was flabbergasted. I did not expect to attain victory in this way! I’ve been out campaigning every day, on public transport, in the streets, at schools. I want to thank my family, my friends and everyone who supported me and voted for me. Croydon is a great place and I have a passion for making it better for everyone. A modernised Croydon, a safer Croydon, a peaceful Croydon.”

Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council

“Huge congratulations to William Croydon’s first ever Young Mayor and Deputy Young Mayor Shea. I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to Croydon Council. You will be a strong voice for young people across our borough and we want you, as their representatives, to play a key role in local decision-making.”

Cllr Alisa Flemming cabinet member for children, young people and learning, added

“Congratulations to William and Shea. I am really looking forward to working with you both to raise the profile of Croydon’s young people.

“I also want to congratulate all of the candidates on an excellent campaign. You have all, without exception, inspired me with your energy, enthusiasm and willingness to stand up and raise your voices for what you believe in.

“Most importantly, you have inspired other young people across the borough, to stand up for what they believe in. More than 12,000 of them voted on Tuesday and this amazing turnout is testament to all your hard work. Don’t stop – you still have much to offer and we want to continue hearing your voices through our youth councils. This is absolutely not the end – it is very much the beginning.”

The Young Mayor election is the latest initiative in Croydon’s Choose Your Future campaign, through which the council, its partners and the community are empowering young people to make positive life choices.

Croydon’s Young Mayor will be formally introduced to the council’s cabinet at their next meeting on Monday 19 March.

Voter ID trials ‘risk disenfranchising vulnerable people’

Tuesday, 6th March 2018

A group of more than 40 charities, campaign groups and academics have written to the government to warn that plans to trial compulsory voter ID at the local elections in May risk disenfranchising large numbers of vulnerable people.

The letter to Chloe Smith, the constitution minister, says the pilot scheme is a disproportionate response to the scale of electoral fraud, noting that in 2016 there were just 44 allegations of voter impersonation, the issue that compulsory ID is intended to combat.

It said Electoral Commission figures indicated that 3.5 million people in Britain – 7.5% of the electorate – do not have access to any form of photo ID.

The letter was organised by the Electoral Reform Society and is signed by the heads of organisations including Age UK, the RNIB, the Salvation Army, the British Youth Council, Stonewall, Operation Black Vote, Liberty, the National Union of Students and St Mungo’s.

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It says the trial, which will require voters in five local authorities to show ID before they can vote on 3 May, could “present a significant barrier to democratic engagement and risk compromising a basic human right for some of the most marginalised groups in society”.

The letter says research has shown that the voters least likely to possess the necessary ID include young or older people, those with disabilities, BAME communities, homeless people and transgender and gender non-conforming people.

It argues that although the councils taking part in the pilots will provide other options for those without photo ID, “the measures do not go far enough to alleviate the potential risk of disenfranchisement and deterrent to voting”.

It also expresses concern about low levels of public awareness about the pilots and the issues they might cause, despite the local elections being just two months away.

Croydon commits £250k to support borough youth

Wednesday, 28th February 2018

 Youth projects and community groups that work to help young people make positive choices are to benefit from a boost of a quarter of a million pounds.

The funding was announced by councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning, at Monday’s cabinet meeting.

The money will be used in a range of ways – to support early-stage funding for groups that wish to start initiatives to support young people, to match-fund plans already in place and to help existing groups reach more youngsters borough wide by investing in their outreach programmes.


Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning

“The cash supports the message of the council’s Choose Your Future campaign, which aims to encourage young people to make positive choices, and to
raise young people’s awareness of knife crime.

“This money will boost the amount of work we do to support young people, from helping new youth groups and support services set up, to adding further backing to the borough’s existing youth and outreach groups.

“We will back our youth and community groups and grass-roots level, to ensure we are working within all sectors of our diverse community.”

The youth work will be funded by the 2018/2019 budget.

Mayor sets up £45m fund to help young Londoners

Tuesday, 13th February 2018

Young Londoners at risk of getting caught up in crime will be supported by a new £45 million fund created by Mayor Sadiq Khan to counter government cuts and “end the scandal of young talent going to waste”.

Young Londoners at risk of getting caught up in crime will be supported by a new £45 million fund created by Mayor Sadiq Khan to counter government cuts and “end the scandal of young talent going to waste”.

The Young Londoners Fund will invest in vital services to help vulnerable children and young adults develop, particularly those who have been left behind or marginalised, and work to prevent them being sucked into crime.

In London, Government cuts over the last eight years have forced councils to slash more than £22m from youth services, with 30 youth centres closed and at least 12,700 places for young people lost.

“It is shameful that because of this Government’s cuts, youth services across the capital have been decimated,” Sadiq said.

“I know from personal experience that for many young people, particularly those from deprived and disadvantaged communities, activities and services for young people offer support at crucial times, have a really positive impact and help keep them on the straight and narrow,” the Mayor said.

The three-year fund will see £10m a year made available for local communities, charities and schools to bid for. The remaining £5m a year will be invested to scale up existing projects funded by City Hall that support young Londoners.

Sadiq announced the Young Londoners Fund while visiting the Salmon Youth Centre in Bermondsey, which supports young people to fulfil their potential and contribute positively to their communities.

“Salmon has been reaching out to young people in inner city London for over a hundred years,” Sam Adofo, Director at the Salmon Youth Centre, said.

“We very much welcome The Mayor’s Young Londoners Fund as it means youth centres like ours will be able to continue the work we do and impact many more young lives.”

The funding comes in addition to the £7m investment the Mayor has already made into knife and gang crime projects in 2017-18.

To read more click here

‘Mott MacDonald Volunteers gave us a 60 min Makeover!’

Friday, 9 February 2018

Down at the BME Forum the doors are always open to the local community and earlier this week,

We welcomed a group of 8 volunteers from Mott MacDonald courtesy of Croydon Commitment in to help re-paint one of our main rooms in the building. As soon as the group began painting, the change was almost instant! They laughed, shared jokes ate ice cream and worked very hard to get the room completed within just 2 hours and 30 mins.

Painting companies should most definitely fear the competition nearby, because we will certainly be welcoming them back to work with us in the future. Not to mention the cheeky enquiries about whether they offer this service for houses too! See some of the pictures and videos below of the fun we got up to.

Croydon BME Forum would also like to give a massive thanks to B&Q for our paint donation, and an even larger thank you to the team from Mott MacDonald for offering their services and Croydon Commitment for aligning us. Both organisations are conducting great works and we encourage everybody to check them out and come together to get involved in any way possible.



TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More!


Jan 24, 2018

School boy Jermaine Goupall was just minutes from his home when he was stabbed in the thigh  – bleeding out on the pavement – as he tried to flee masked knife wielding teenagers.

A court has been hearing how it was the climax of a feud between the CR7 and CR0 gang over music videos on You Tube.

Kyall, 17, was stabbed once through the heart and died on the street on New Year’s Eve  in Tulse Hill after a row with fellow teenagers. Police say Kyall had a knife and was witnessed acting ‘very aggressively’ before his death.

Detectives told Southwark coroners court  that during the confrontation with his killer, Kyall’s friends told him to “stab him, finish him off”, which the younger boy claimed caused him to take out his own knife from his bag and stab Kyall in an attempt to protect himself.

Derryck John is featured in a missing poster last summer and a week later commits an appalling series of acid attacks that shocks the nation leaving one victim with life changing injuries. He committed the crimes with an unknown assailant and now faces a considerable prison sentence. In a statement, John said he was frightened of the other man involved, who is much older than him.

What links all these boys is their ages, ethnicity and home address – Thornton Heath – and how momentary ill-conceived acts end lives,  futures and devastate families.

The victims and perpetrators are often the same individuals and music, peer pressure, and social media are contributing to young people making poor choices.

Preferring to live for now rather than the future,  money and respect is valued over aspiration for some of our young.

Last week Magdalene Adenaike of Music Relief chaired a Youth Initiative meeting attended by youth groups, parents and residents in Thornton Heath which called for a community youth champion, to act as go-between raising the concerns of the community with the council.

Croydon had one of the highest levels of youth violence in London over the past year.

It can’t be a coincidence that the council’s children’s services and the Croydon Safeguarding Children Board (CSCB), which tackles issues such as gang and knife crime, were rated “inadequate” by inspectors.

Youth services  and the police have also faced huge cuts with  fewer officers struggling to tackle soaring knife crime.

At the meeting concerns  were raised about how some young people choose to follow others with a “sheep mentality”, for fear of looking stupid.

This led to calls for initiatives to help the young make better decisions by being able to signpost them and their families to organisations that will enable them to channel their energies positively.

It also highlighted the need for parents to take a role in ensuring they knew the whereabouts of their children.

An in-depth conversation about knife crime focussed on the impact on teenagers, especially when the victim is known to them.

Joan Idris, from Off The Record which offers free counselling and on-line support to young people said: “More and more young people are dealing with the devastating affects of losing someone they know to violence and often they are not signposted to seek emotional support for bereavement or the anxiety they are experiencing.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced an extra £15 million to tackle the knife crime epidemic and if any additional income raised from council tax can be invested in youth services.

Clearly this is a complex issue and won’t have a simple overnight solution. It  isn’t just about statutory organisations – it’s about parents, schools and the community working together to ensure that the next generation has the confidence to be different and value life more.

If you are dealing with the loss of a close friend, get in touch with Off The Record for confidential support

Last year 16-year-old Derryck John carried out six acid attacks in 90 minutes in order to steal mopeds.

Five young people are in court accused of the murder of 15-year-old Jermaine Goupall on Georgia Road.

The 16-year-old boy who killed Kyall Parnell, may not be charged with his murder because he “acted in self-defence”.

‘It feels so close to home’: spate of stabbings unnerves London teenagers

January 18th 2018

One at a time, the children in the room stand up and perform in front of their peers and relatives – a song from Disney’s Frozen, a monologue from a play, a joke worthy of a Christmas cracker – while audience members observe a respectful quiet.

Along with a passion for performing arts, the youngsters assembled for the talent show at Croydon’s BME Forum have something else in common: in one way or another their lives have been touched by knife crime.

This isn’t the reason they have been brought together – the event has been organised by the youth group Music Relief Foundation (MRF), which is about using creativity to unleash young people’s potential. It is an unfortunate reality that if you’re a teenager in London, you or someone you know will have a story to tell about knife violence.

As well as stories of stabbings, the children all have strong views on how the problem – branded an epidemic by some – could be tackled.

After singing a touching rendition of Killing Me Softly, Nia Shaw, 18, tells the Guardian she knows the prime suspect in the killing of Kyall Parnell, a 17-year-old stabbed in Tulse Hill on New Year’s Eve. The 16-year-old boy, who has been arrested, lives two minutes from her home. “It happens all the time but you never expect it when it’s someone you know,” she says. “I didn’t think of him as someone who would carry a knife or any weapon. It now just feels so close to home.”

Parnell was one of four young people stabbed to death in the space of 15 hours over the new year period. The spate of unconnected stabbings across London brought the issue of knife crime back into focus once again. The story is fast becoming stuck on repeat.

Nia, who lives in Tulse Hill and attends Richmond-upon-Thames college, says she feels unnerved by the recent violence. “I feel like these stabbings didn’t really even have a target, they’re just innocent people getting caught up in them.”

“I think poverty is a factor,” she adds. She thinks punishment for knife crimes could be more severe. “It keeps on happening. The thought of punishment should stop you from making that mistake.”

She and many of her friends at MRF advocate youth clubs as a resource to help young people make better use of their time. But Nia says these clubs cannot just be a room in a community centre with the door left open for teenagers to come and go. “The club needs to be more than a space or a room,” she says. “It needs to have actual facilities and provide activities for young people to do.”

Javan Roberts, 15, attends the famous Brit School in Croydon, whose alumni include Adele and Amy Winehouse. At his previous school, Javan knew Jermaine Goupall, who died aged 15 after he was stabbed in the leg in in Thornton Heath last year. Javan learned of his former friend’s death through social media.

“It was so instant and unexpected,” he says. “I just clicked on Snapchat and I hear someone I knew had died. I heard about it and wrote a song.” And the message? “Its chorus went: ‘Cold blood, the brothers have no love.’”

Javan says he sees and hears about knife violence on an almost daily basis. “It’s repeated a lot,” he said. “You hear of boys trying to prove themselves, sometimes they’re trying to protect themselves.” But he is not intimidated. “I don’t feel scared. Some people are quite silly in the way they present themselves. I don’t need to act like a badman or a roadman because that’s not who I am.”

Kai Henderson, 13, was friends with Michael Jonas, a 17-year-old stabbed in Betts Park, Anerley, in south London last year. “He was stabbed a week after I last saw him,” he says. “That made me feel scared – if I went to that park it could be me. I’m still kind of scared of going back.”

Kai, who attends Orchard Park High in Croydon, has known of boys kicked out of school for carrying weapons but he does not believe that to be the answer. “That’s not right,” he says. “They’re taken out of school and put in places with other bad kids, where all the bad kids go. They should stay in school and should be given access to counsellors with support to help them out.”

Angel Lowe, 12, gives a spirited performance of a monologue from a play she has been studying at Gordon’s school, a state-run, voluntary-aided boarding school in Surrey. Angel boards there Monday to Friday before returning home to South Norwood at weekends. “When I’m at school I’m away from knife crime,” she says. “But when I’m home I’m reminded of it often.”

Angel says her stepsister’s cousin was stabbed 14 times in Peckham. “He was so lucky he didn’t die.” . She says many perpetrators of knife violence are part of an ignored part of society. “Maybe if someone was there just to listen to them and their views, they would be different. So many people feel like they’re not heard.” She also thinks the police who work in the communities to reduce knife crime need to be less confrontational.

Joshua Jean-Pierre, 13, who attends Harris Academy South Norwood, had a near-miss with a stabbing. “We had finished school, we were going to get a McDonald’s. My friend saw this boy who had tried to rob him before. He came over to us and he was about to get something out of his bag – we knew it was going to be a knife.”

A passing member of the public intervened and defused the situation, but it left him shaken. Perhaps he could turn to the police? “The police have come into our schools and searched our bags. It doesn’t make me feel safe. Children worry that the police will plant something in our bag and we’ll be arrested. There isn’t any trust.” And what about the government? “The government does nothing to tackle knife crime,” Joshua says. “They spend all their time and money on Brexit and not anywhere near enough on youth.”

Magdalene Adenaike, 37, set up Music Relief Foundation, originally for young mums, after she had her first child when she was 18. It evolved into a youth organisation with a goal of reaching out through music. “Young people are able to express themselves through music,” she says. “It’s a powerful and positive way of getting strong messages across.” MRF has a knife crime awareness campaign, More than Able, and last week representatives attended parliament with the Croydon MP Sarah Jones.

Among the audience at the MRF talent show are proud parents of the children taking part. Kai’s playful grandmother can’t resist joining in and steps up to the front to recite Maya Angelou’s poem Still I Rise. The children are captivated.

It’s a warm and magical moment in which the sense of the community in the room – and, particularly after the conversations that have taken place, its underlying fragility – is laid bare.

Young people ‘being let down’ as Croydon more than quarters its youth service spending

January 25 2018

The number of youth workers in Croydon – the borough with the largest child population in London – has fallen by 69% in four years.

A freedom of information request revealed that in an area with about 40,000  residents aged 11-18,  full time jobs in youth work plunged from 61 in 2013-14, to just 19 in 2017-2018.In addition to this, the total amount spent on youth services in the borough dropped from more than £3.8million in 2013-14, to £794,000 in 2017-18. According to the council, spending figures between 2013 and 2016 are incomparable to those given for 2016/17 due to ‘multiple restructures and changes to service provision’.

Magdalene Adenaike, founder of Music Relief, a youth organisation in Croydon, said: “It’s very disturbing to see the figures.

Individuals and organisations with great intentions to support the youths are unfortunately being forced to seek alternative employment due to lack of funds.

“The young people are left without the support they desperately need and the consequences as we now see are very dire.

“We need financial support to help us continue the great work we do with the youths.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has repeatedly called on the Government to reverse cuts to youth services to help tackle the recent rise in knife crime across the city – and Croydon has one of the highest rates of knife crime in London.

Two of last year’s most high profile cases involved 17-year-old Aren Mali, killed in Croydon town centre’s main shopping street, and 16-year-old Jermaine Goupall murdered in Thornton Heath.

Mr Khan tweeted on January 4: “Government cuts to youth services, education, probation & the police are letting young Londoners down. They need to urgently prioritise these services if we are to tackle crime across our city.”


Government cuts to youth services, education, probation & the police are letting young Londoners down. They need to urgently prioritise these services if we are to tackle crime across our city. 

Sadiq Khan accuses Government of being ‘weak on causes of crime’ amid rising violence

Sadiq Khan has attacked the Government over being “weak on the causes of crime” and suggested that cuts could be driving rising violence. Speaking after four young men were murdered in unrelated…


A Croydon Council spokesperson said wider government budget cuts were to blame for the figures showing a drop in youth services spending.

He highlighted a new youth engagement strategy implemented last year. “We have since shaped our delivery to reflect the needs of communities across the borough and increased our face to face sessions with young people,” he said.
“You will see from your campaigns there is a strong focus on giving young people a real voice in local decision-making.”

In a cabinet meeting on October 18 last year, Croydon Council set out its strategy for ‘championing children in Croydon’, which they estimated would cost £10,000.
As part of the strategy, a Young Mayor of Croydon will be elected this spring by 11-18 year-olds who live in the borough.

The Young Major will serve a fixed term and work with other young people to manage a budget that will benefit local voluntary sector groups.

How Scotland reduced knife deaths among young people

Sun 3 Dec 2017
In 2005, Strathclyde police set up a violence reduction unit (VRU) in an effort
to address a problem that had made Glasgow, in particular, notorious. Later
that year, a United Nations report illustrated why that strategy was so urgent.

The study concluded that Scotland was the most violent country in the
developed world. Based on telephone interviews with crime victims conducted
between 1991 and 2000, it found that excluding murder, Scots were almost
three times as likely to be assaulted as Americans and 30 times more likely
than the Japanese.
The VRU, which is directly funded by the Scottish government and has an
arms-length relationship with Police Scotland, was later rolled out across
Scotland. It has adopted a public health approach to knife crime, in which the
police work with those in the health, education and social work sectors to
address the problem. The results so far have been dramatic.
Of the 35 children and teenagers who have been killed with knives in Britain
so far this year, not one has been in Scotland. By contrast, in England and
Wales, 2017 looks set to become the worst year for deaths of young people by
knives in nearly a decade, according to figures revealed by the Guardian’s
Beyond the blade project, which aims to show the true picture of knife deaths
among children and teenagers in the UK.
Between April 2006 and April 2011, 40 children and teenagers were killed in
homicides involving a knife in Scotland; between 2011 and 2016, that figure
fell to just eight. The decline has been most precipitous in Glasgow, which
once had one of the highest murder rates in Western Europe. Between 2006
and 2011, 15 children and teenagers were killed with knives in Scotland’s
largest city; between April 2011 and April 2016, none were.

The number of people carrying knives also appears to have declined across
Scotland. According to figures from Police Scotland, there was 10,110 recorded
incidents of handling an offensive weapon in 2006-07, a figure which fell to
3,111 in 2015-16 – a decline of 69% in a decade.
The Scottish Police Federarion and police officers have raised concerns in
recent years that true extent of violent crime excluding murder might not be
fully represented in the figures. Crime recording methods were changed in
April 2017 and Police Scotland say knife crime has always been accurately
recorded in the country.
Some of Scotland’s success in tackling knife crime is due to factors that are
arguably unique to Scotland. But there are also lessons here for the rest of the
UK in general and London in particular. The evidence from Scotland suggests
that while knife crime, like most crimes, can never be eradicated, it need not
be understood as an intractable, cultural feature of urban life. To successfully
tackle it, however, there needs to be a shift in understanding of the root causes
of the problem and, therefore, what a durable solution might look like.

Awards for All – £300 – £10,000 Grants

Awards for All England is the quick and easy way to get small Lottery grants of between £300 and £10,000 for voluntary and community organisations.

Awards for All offers grants of between £300 and £10,000 for grassroots and community activity that aims to improve life for local people and neighbourhoods.

It doesn’t have a deadline and you can apply at any time. It is our most popular grants programme so we will prioritise groups with smaller incomes. Due to high demand on the programme, organisations that have a large annual income may not be able to get funding through Awards for All.

We recommend you send us your application at least four months before you want your project to start.

Please read the guidance notes (below) for a better chance of success with your application. We have very clear criteria as to what we can and cannot fund and explain how we prioritise applications to allow us to decide on which projects to fund.

Croydon BME Forum is available to support you in putting your application together.  Call us on 02086843719 to book an appointment.

Click here to read more and to apply.