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Ethnicity and Stroke

About our Black & Asian Stroke Survivors Project

In 2021, we launched our Black & Asian Stroke Survivors (BASS) Project after learning that…

  1. Black and South Asian people are at greater risk of stroke²

  2. Black people are twice as likely to have a stroke than white people³

  3.  Black and South Asian people have a stroke at a younger age²

It became clear that this diversity was not entirely reflected in the community of stroke survivors that we support.

And while around 13% of the UK population is of Black or South Asian descent, in 2021, only around 4% of Different Strokes’ beneficiaries were from these communities.

Ethnicity and Stroke

Time for action

With such statistics, we felt that it was no longer enough to simply state that our services were open and available to all, but we had to address this gap and take action to change this. 

From that, Different Strokes launched a national outreach program with 2 aims:

  1. To raise awareness of stroke risk amongst Black and Asian communities where stroke is more prevalent at a younger age.

  2. To develop a longer-term plan, that aims to break down barriers preventing Black and Asian stroke survivors from accessing our support services.

Identifying the barriers

To begin with In 2021, we began a volunteer support group of Black and Asian stroke survivors and through that we identified four barriers survivors face in getting support…

  1. We first saw that there was a Lack of awareness: of the risk of stroke at all ages, and in particular Black and Asian people not being aware of the increased risk of stroke they face. 

  2. We then realised that there was not enough information: for example, leaflets about stroke not containing specific information for people from Black or Asian communities, or not being accessible for people whose first language is not English. 

  3. We found that there was limited representation: and a lack of images of Black and Asian people who did not identify themselves with stroke risk. Meaning that when they were looking at NHS stroke campaigns or even our website, they would not have seen themselves in the images and the stories shared.

  4. And finally, we heard of the cultural and social barriers: from the aftereffects of stroke and the (cultural) stigma associated with the physical & mental disabilities survivors are often diagnosed with.

From there, we hired our BASS project officer Rahael, in September 2022 and have developed an engagement strategy to tackle these barriers with organisations we plan to approach to help us provide support and raise awareness of younger stroke amongst Black and Asian communities in the UK.

Our BASS Engagement Strategy for 2022/23

We plan to begin by approaching different religious and community organisations.

We’ve decided to start here as the Black and Asian diaspora in the UK has strong cultural connections with their religion. By sharing this information with religious and community leaders it will be taken more seriously coming from a trusted source

We will approach community leaders from Gurudwaras, Mosques, temples, and BMCs (Black Majority Churches)

We will then engage with different forms of Media. As this is the fastest way to spread information with a wide national outreach and established audiences.

These will range from: 

  1. News outlets – especially those which publish content in the native language of these Ethnic groups

  2. Social Media networks – as it has a big reach for the younger demographic we want to engage with

  3. Radio stations with a high proportion of listeners from Black and Asian communities

  4. … And anti-racism charities

Finally we will get in contact with… the National Union of Students (NUS) an organisation that sets up university wide campaigns across the UK.

A gov.uk survey from July 2020 showed that 30% of undergraduate students identified as Black or Asian… And we think that young students from this demographic will spread the word to their families and networks to raise awareness

We hope to engage with NUS before the new term starts in September 2023, so we can set up stalls during freshers week and hold talks.

Ethnicity and Stroke

Other tactics we hope to explore are...

  1. Engaging with Youth Music and religious festivals; [Including: Diwali, Ramadan, Carnival and even events like BHM.]

  2. Contacting schools and colleges (following a similar model as done for universities)

  3. Collating data on the demographics of where most Black & Asian people reside across the UK and contact Local Govts through the (NALC) National Association for Local Councils to disseminate this information to these areas.

Want information in other languages?

We have recently been working closely with South Asian communities to produce information in other languages.

We hope to add more as the project progresses.

Want to get involved?

As this project is in its very nascent stages, we would love to hear from you if you have any thoughts or feedback. Or, if you are interested in collaborating or have any ideas how to strengthen our work in this area please get in touch with our Rahael Kuruvilla, our BASS Project Lead – at rahael.kuruvilla@differentstrokes.co.uk 

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