By Zoe Kramer | Head of News
EYST and its partners have launched a BAME helpline with funding from the Welsh Government.
The helpline comes as a response to COVID-19, and an increased desire for guidance from members of the BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) community in Wales who have been impacted by the pandemic. EYST, or Ethnic Minorities & Youth Support Team Wales, have announced the helpline as a 6-month project according to current plans. The helpline is available Monday to Friday, 10:30 to 2:30.
Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt welcomed the new initiative stating “I’m delighted to be supporting the new BAME Helpline through the Voluntary Services Emergency Fund. Its launch will help remove language and cultural barriers to ensure all communities in Wales can access the support they need.
“Welsh Government is committed to creating a more equal Wales, and we’re working to break down the long-standing inequalities that still exist. We’re currently inviting BAME organisations to work with us to develop a Race Equality Action Plan, which aims to implement and embed the systemic change we want to see.”
The helpline’s intended purpose is to offer multilingual information related to COVID-19 as well as employment, education, and personal safety. The helpline aims to redirect callers to resources that can be useful to them depending on their particular situation. The pandemic affects everyone in different ways.
Wales TUC General Secretary Shavanah Taj said “Many workers in Wales from BME backgrounds have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, due to a range of long-standing socio-economic factors. A high number of anonymous reports into the Wales TUC whistleblowing site and grassroots community feedback, demonstrated the need for trade unions to play a key role in accessing often hard to reach workers, not covered by union recognition.
“More often than not, BME workers are left feeling ostracised, vulnerable, exploited, work zero hours, on precarious contracts faced with bad bosses, unfair and dangerous work practices with no recourse to public funds. We hope to change this through working with EYST and other organisations involved in this important project. All workers deserve to be safe and protected at work with a strong voice at the negotiating table but to do this they first need to understand how to access their rights at work.”
EYST have partnered with many organisations in Wales to make the helpline possible, including the Henna Foundation, Women Connect First, ProMo Cymru, and Wales TUC.
The helpline is taking calls at 0300 2225720, or texts at 07537 432415. The website also has resources here.