Organisations representing a diverse range of faiths and communities in England and Wales are joining the campaign to address the urgent need for black, Asian and minority ethnic organ donors.
Twenty five projects which aim to encourage people from these backgrounds to become lifesaving organ donors have secured funding after bidding for a share of a £140,000* Community Investment Scheme funding pot.
The scheme is part of a Government campaign led by NHS Blood and Transplant, with support from the National BAME Transplant Alliance (NBTA), to break down myths and barriers and increase support for organ donation among black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
Health Minister, Jackie Doyle-Price, said: “The projects receiving funding today will spread the message about the priceless gift of organ donation up and down the country – at a community level, where it has the strongest impact.
If you are black or Asian, you will wait on average half a year longer for a matching donor than if you are white. Those six months could be a matter of life or death. We must address this by empowering communities to own the
conversation around organ donation.
Giving the gift of an organ is a deeply personal decision and I hope that the projects funded through this scheme will help people to make an informed choice.”
Organisations representing Jain, Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Swahili, black and Asian Christians, black African and Caribbean and multi-faith groups were among the successful bidders from a field of 40 applications.
The organisations are now preparing to launch their projects which will reach people across London, the Midlands and the North West of England, as well as in Cardiff, Bristol, Leeds and Newcastle.
The projects vary and include awareness events and workshops, outreach activity at community and faith gatherings, information leaflets, videos and films, and online and social media campaigns.
The Caribbean & African Health Network (CAHN) in Greater Manchester has received funding for its Precious Life Savers project which aims to engage black faith leaders and their congregations.
Rev Charles Kwaku-Odoi of CAHN said: “It was through our work with NHS Blood and Transplant specialist nurses that we became aware of the disproportionately high number of black people waiting for a transplant, and the shortage of donors.
“Over 80 percent of our community are involved with a church, and we feel that recruiting faith leaders as ambassadors and engaging people in church settings can be really effective ways to reach people with a positive organ donation message.”
Faye Bruce, Chair of CAHN, said: “This Community Investment Scheme funding will help us to carry out this work in churches across Greater Manchester, helping to overcome the cultural myths around organ donation
and raise awareness of this urgent issue affecting our community.”
The scheme was open to any faith or community-based organisation working within black, Asian and minority communities in England and Wales.
Organisations were invited to bid for funding by outlining how they could build support for organ donation, and all applications were reviewed by an independent judging panel.
Anthony Clarkson, Interim Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “The number of applications for funding reflects the passion for promoting organ donation and saving lives that exists
in organisations across the spectrum of faiths and communities in the UK.
“Fantastic work is already taking place within communities right across the country. We are delighted to have been able to formalise our support for this community-led work through the Government’s campaign and this funding.
“Hearing a positive organ donation message from a trusted, community-led or local organisation will, we hope, encourage more people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds to decide that they want to be a lifesaving
organ donor and to share that decision with their families.”
The organisations leading the projects will evaluate their work after the projects have finished in the summer. This insight will help understanding around the different approaches that can be taken to break down barriers
towards organ donation.