Alchemy’s COVID-19 Response: Online Digital Health Workshops
In partnership with the Lottery Fund we have launched a second project in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
This project will be less arts-based and more about offering straightforward information and help.
Many of our beneficiaries are no longer able to access any form of training or one to one interaction, and therefore risk being socially excluded further due to social distancing rules relating to COVID-19.
In addition to this, we recognise that a lot of misinformation is currently being shared on social media platforms, leading to a poor understanding of COVID-19, its effects, and guidance around how to manage the disease or minimise the risk of infection. This project will educate participants so that they can access verified and factual information about the virus.
We will deliver 12 online digital health workshops for the BAME community across the UK aimed at engaging individuals at high risk of contracting COVID-19. This virtual platform will allow us to continue to reach the most vulnerable and isolated people with the BAME community who have thus far not been able to access any meaningful engagement within the arts and creative industries.
Our aim is to provide those who are marginalised with an opportunity to find an expression for all their creative skills in a way that is relevant and connected to the times that we are living in.
In order to reach our community we have developed a unique response programme. A lot of misinformation is currently being shared on social media platforms. This information can lead to a poor understanding of COVID-19, it’s effects, and guidance around how to manage the disease or minimise the risk of infection.
This will help educate participants in a culturally appropriate way, so that they can access verified, factual information about the virus, leading to greater awareness within these communities.
Our project will allow us to bridge the gap between support services and this community; individuals who come to our virtual hub feeling isolated, lonely and low on confidence will leave with a strong network of support.
A culturally sensitive response to COVID-19
Since the onset of this crisis, we have been overwhelmed with requests from our community asking for a platform where they can access basic information relating to COVID-19. Our initial research has found that many individuals and family members in the BME community are not gaining culturally sensitive and appropriate information – which is vital at a time like this.
Community members have been speaking regularly to us about their concerns for elderly family members and loved ones. We have learnt that that there is currently no virtual ‘safe space’ that is culturally appropriate for community members to access support or facts in order to make informed choices.
Without support that is specific to the needs of the community, false information that causes stresses and anxiety will continue to be spread, leading to pressure on frontline staff to manage unneeded trips to the hospital.
Although many websites have information in different languages, this is generic advice and is not tailored for people locally. Our team has built up trust with the community and will continue to engage with partners throughout this crisis, providing accurate and culturally appropriate information that caters for our community.
Meeting the needs of the community
One of the reasons why many of our beneficiaries are at high risk of COVID-19 is because they are not accessing the appropriate information about COVID-19. The type of information being shared within the community is misleading, which is leading to a high proportion being taken into A&E and having a direct impact on the NHS.
Our project myth-busts and challenges the negative stigma and attitude towards COVID-19 in the BME community so they can have conversations in a safe space that will build stronger relationships in and across the whole community.
The success of our project is based around the fact that Alchemy Arts is able to overcome language barrier, supporting those most in need in a range of community languages. Additionally, all sessions will be supported by clinical experts in regards to COVID-19 in order to debunk myths and provide facts.
Social Distancing Seminars
In addition we plan to deliver online seminars specifically talking about health wellbeing and associated with COVID-19 in a format that is easy to digest and suitable for everyone.
This is most specifically dedicated towards an audience of elderly Asian women to share tips and support on how to stay safe. Seminars will be available in three different languages to ensure that they are accessible to as many members of the community as possible.
To find out more about our COVID-19 response, get in touch or see our blog here.