A time for healing and reflection...
Given we are in the midst of the Covid19 pandemic, which has us locked down in our homes and/or engaged in social distancing, it is perhaps unsurprising that writing this newsletter was particularly difficult.
In this newsletter, we talk about how we see the impact of the Pandemic. The Mary Seacole Youth Advisory Committee also discusses the impact of lock down on their young lives, families, school lives and friendships.
It is wonderful to give young people this voice.
NHS Seacole is launched
Trevor Sterling was privileged to represent the MST this May, in jointly unveiling the NHS Seacole Centre name sign at Headley Court with Health & Social Care Secretary; Mr Matt Hancock.
It is entirely appropriate that Mary is recognised in the naming of the COVID-19 NHS rehabilitation centre, alongside the Nightingale Hospitals.
We are incredibly proud of our Ambassador Dr Habib Naqvi for his tireless liaison which helped facilitate this, supported of course by the wider community. Dr Habib Naqvi reveals more about the events which led to the opening of the first NHS Seacole Centre...
Thoughts on diverse leadership during Covid-19
Written by Dr Habib Naqvi MBE, Mary Seacole Trust Ambassador
Diversity in leadership brings benefits for everyone; both employees and the users of our services. Diversity also leads to greater innovation, access to a wider pool of talent, and leads to a better place to work, with even greater impact.
Yet, whilst the dream of equal opportunity for all has not yet come true, its promise still exists.
But words alone will not meet the needs of those that are disadvantaged in society; needs will only be met if we act boldly, today, every day, and in the years ahead.
In general, and right across society, black and minority ethnic (BME) folk do less well – whether that’s in relation to educational achievement, health, wealth, housing, employment, the list goes on. This is the pattern seen for BME people within white-majority countries.
In recent months, the coronavirus has shone the brightest of lights on the racial stratification of inequality that we see in the UK.
The virus is having a disproportionate impact on BAME communities and key workers; many paying the ultimate sacrifice.
In our response, we must look towards tackling the root-causes of these inequalities. This has to be the watershed moment for society, where it holds up a mirror to its own values, morals and constructs of equality, to make transformational and sustained change for everyone.
This is a testing time for all, but we must face these challenges head-on. Unless the challenges are shared, the failure to meet them will hurt us all; and whilst we may be humbled by the task before us, we are also firm in the belief that, together we can, and must, make a lasting difference on this agenda.
We all have a role to play in turning the dream into reality, and in narrowing the gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of our time. So, we have a choice: we can be bystanders to this issue, or we can come together and tackle the very root causes of inequalities.
This agenda should not be a burden for those that are most affected by it; transformation in this area requires the collective efforts of everyone.
Whilst we may not all come from the same place, we all need to move in the same direction.
In Conversation with... Colonel David Bates
International Nurses Day
International Nurses' Day is celebrated around the world each year on 12 May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth.
This year in particular it’s an extra special occasion because not only does it fall during the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, it also marks the 200th anniversary of Nightingale’s birth.
In light of the current crisis, we enter a time of reflection rather than celebration and in doing so we also acknowledge and remember the many brave lives lost as a result of fighting this pandemic.
A plaque commemorating healthcare workers who have put themselves at risk to care for people in the Millennium Gardens of St Thomas’ Hospital, becomes all the more poignant. The plaque reads:
"This plaque is to honour those healthcare workers who have dedicated themselves to aiding others in times of war, conflict and catastrophe throughout history."
Let’s continue to support each other and stay safe.
A moment of clarity...
by Trevor Sterling
I remember celebrating my birthday on March 1st. I was filled with much excitement as this was just before I was due to fly to Jamaica with Lisa Rodrigues, the Mary Seacole Trust Vice Chair.
We travelled to Kingston, Jamaica, for a reception hosted by the Institute of Jamaica for the Mary Seacole Foundation re-launch. We were proud to announce the joint venture to roll out of our Young Seacole Ambassadors competition to Jamaican school children in 2021
Unbeknownst to us , this short and meaningful trip was to be the last that we would make for a long time, as a result of the global lockdown, which so swiftly followed due to Covid19. Within days of our departure, the virus took hold here and in Jamaica and amongst other things, schools were closed and children were sent home. This was disruptive here, but of course the impact of Covid19 is sadly greatly amplified in poorer nations.
These have been incredibly difficult times with many lives lost here and abroad. Once again, following conflict or crisis, we have seen tremendous reliance on those from ethnic minority backgrounds and evidence that social disadvantage impacts on their health outcomes. It would appear that even with disease, life or death is often dependent on race and one’s social position. I, for one, welcome the investigations into the disproportionate impact of Covid19 on ethnic minorities.
As I always say, all things both good and bad, are eventually consigned to history. It is important however that lessons to be learned, or already learned, must not also be consigned to history. One lesson that we hope is learned, is the key role that many from diverse backgrounds play, particularly those described as “Essential Workers”. Perhaps in the future this, or similar nomenclature, will be used rather than simply the misnomer of “Unskilled Worker”.
A further lesson to be learned from this pandemic is that...
richness comes from being caring & compassionate, not from the possessions we have
We have surely now learned that our possessions & freedoms can so easily and quickly be swept away.