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Research into the impact of coronavirus on young Black Britons

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An OU academic has received funding to research the impact of COVID-19 on young Black Britons.

Dr Michael Boampong, Lecturer in Childhood and Youth Studies in the OU’s Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS), has received £10,000 from the OU’s COVID-19 Rapid Response funding scheme to run a pilot study which will explore how the pandemic is affecting Black young migrants and those of Black British African-Caribbean backgrounds.

Working with the WELS Childhood, Youth, and Sport group (CYSG) and external partners including UNICEF-UK, Commonwealth Secretariat and Be Heard, the study will investigate firstly, if BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) groups are ‘most at-risk’ from COVID-19 and then what factors contribute to their vulnerability.

Secondly, it will explore the differences/similarities of experiences between Black children and young migrants and those of Black British African-Caribbean backgrounds. Thirdly, it will consider how socio-structural positions and social network/capital influence access to material and emotional support.

“BAME adults are primarily at risk from COVID-19. While Black children and young people (including those from migrant background) are likely to experience direct and indirect consequences of COVID-19, their experiences have been under-researched and silent in public-decisions,’’ said Dr Boampong.

Building on previous work with British-Ghanaians families in London, this seven-month pilot focuses on Black young migrants and those of Black British African-Caribbean backgrounds. It will be carried out through in-depth narrative interviews which will be conducted with 25 children/youth (7-25 years) from ethnic minority communities. The themes will also form the basis of a publication, of a one-day public workshop and will help formulate a future research proposal.

Initial findings are expected to be available  by 1 April 2021, with a plan to organise a public seminar on 15 May 2021. The event will coincide with the UN International Day of Families.  

Naomi Danquah, UNICEF-UK Child Friendly Cities and Communities Programme Director, said:

“All children should be treated fairly, protected from discrimination and have access to the best possible outcomes, regardless of their background or status. This project will further highlight the health and economic inequalities experienced by Black children and youth from migrant backgrounds and families in this country and the need for additional investment in policies that protect the most vulnerable.”

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