Since 2016 Black Thrive in Lambeth has been working with statutory and community partners to address the inequalities that Black people face throughout their lives which negatively impact their mental health and wellbeing, experiences, and outcomes. Black Thrive Global evolved from the work of Black Thrive Lambeth. It was founded upon the common understanding that wherever Black people of African and Caribbean descent are located, detrimental outcomes persist. We determined that focused Black Leadership which facilitates systems change will transform the Black experience from surviving into thriving.
In 2020 via its Growing Great Ideas programmes The National Lottery Community Fund awarded Black Thrive Global just over £5 million over 10 years to establish the Thriving Futures programme to extend and deepen the work of Black Thrive. This programme is a collective made up of Black Thrive Lambeth, Mind in Haringey and Catalyst 4 Change in Birmingham with overarching support from Black Thrive Global. Our guiding principle is that everything we do is for the benefit of Black communities and that out organisation act as conduits for that purpose. Our journey is shared and collaborative and so we expect some of the ideas and activities to change over time as we evolve together.
Black Thrive Lambeth was formed in 2016 to address the inequalities that negatively impact the mental health and wellbeing of Black people in Lambeth. They are a partnership between communities, statutory organisations, voluntary groups and the private sector. They work collaboratively to reduce the inequalities that lead to poorer socioeconomic outcomes for Black communities in the borough and initiate the systems change required to see Black residents thrive. Since its inception BTL has been involved in community engagement and grassroots activism particularly around the use of force used by the Police. Whilst it is the BTL Communities team that works actively with the TFC other Lambeth project streams include; Children, Young People and Families, Employment, LGBTQ+ and Adult Mental Health.
Mind in Haringey was established in 1974 with the initial vision of ensuring local people with mental health problems could have somewhere to go to meet and mix with other people as a form of social support. They work in partnership with Haringey Council, Haringey CCG/NHS and are committed to collaborations with community and voluntary organisations. In 2020 Mind in Haringey joined the Black Thrive network as Black Thrive Haringey to help address the systemic inequalities facing Black communities. As part of the Thriving Futures Collective BTH will seek to continue to work collaboratively with people, projects and organisations in Haringey to improve outcomes for all Black communities within the borough.
Catalyst 4 Change began in 2016 by founding directors Sandra Griffiths and Tippa Naphtali with the powerful mission of strengthening the capacity of voluntary, grassroots and user led organisations to ensure the right care, at the right time and in the right place. Adopting the role of ‘positive deviants’ they plan to avoid some of the familiar concerns related to the mental health experiences of African and Caribbean communities. In 2020 Catalyst 4 Change joined the Black Thrive network as Black Thrive Birmingham to foster an environment in which Black communities can thrive. The expansion of Black Thrive in Birmingham will enable the key learnings from projects to support the outstanding work of Catalyst 4 Change and other existing organisations in the West Midlands.
The Research Institute and Observatory launched in 2021 with the purpose of developing evidence to support Black Thrives systems change activities by bringing decolonial perspectives to knowledge production processes which underpin the policy landscape. They are committed to ensuring that they summarise and communicate their findings, and other research, that adequately speaks to the Black experience. In all that they do they ensure to centre the knowledge and perspectives of Black people with a critical decolonial approach to dominant research paradigms as an epistemic foundation.
The Research Institute approach is threefold.
The Research Institute has a key role in the Thriving Futures Collective as they support Partners to conduct and apply empirical research in their localities to construct Black-led research approaches that help improve outcomes in Black communities.
We are building a network of Black-led community organisations and leaders across the areas we work in that have articulated the changes in systems conditions that will enable Black people to thrive.
We are sharing and publishing the learning across all our work and throughout our journey at our Black Thrive CommUNITY Assemblies and other forums to inform, consult, engage and involve Black individuals and communities that represent the full spectrum and intersections of Blackness such as national origin, gender, age, disability, faith, class and sexual orientation.
Led by our Black Thrive Research Institute we are focusing on Black-led research and research from a Black-lens. We facilitate communities exploring how to measure what matter to them (tangible or otherwise) and develop community “metrics” to sit alongside existing metrics and challenge the norms and knowledge production of the system – upon which current public policy, practice and resource allocation are built. This is our foundation for decolonising the evidence landscape.
Our research places the lived experience of the community at the forefront of knowledge production so that the real issues are shaped by the outcomes and actions that Black communities want to see. We also host events that provide an opportunity for people to connect with others who wish to take action on inequalities and build on the learning from the journeys of Black people who have succeeded against the odds.
We are outlining a model of systems change from a Black perspective building on the Water of Systems Change and work done in Canada by the Tamarack Institute. We recognise that this work is nuanced and will look different depending on the contexts of the locality we are working in.
Our knowledge and resources are shared with public sector and third sector organisations so that their knowledge of Black communities is stronger, less racist and more authentic. We will also be allocating funds to Black individuals and Black-led grassroots organisations with good ideas for action that will transform the Black experience from surviving to thriving. We understand that investment goes beyond financial resources and so we also aim to provide capacity-building support.
We are developing our infrastructure, tools and skills to act as a backbone of backbones organisations to uphold our partners as they work as backbones to support their local areas.
Read our annual reports from 2021- 2022 below.