A Wellness to Work Initiative for Lambeth residents
Developing the skills and confidence to improve employability in creative ways
Disrupting dominant narratives to reframe attitudes towards health inequalities
Enhancing relationships through participatory engagement and compassion
What is Black Swan
Black Swan’s founder Andrea Wright developed this virtual Wellness to Work initiative that addresses the challenges of black people living with long-term conditions, barriers to employment and structural racism.
It aims to create an environment that centres the lived experience of individuals and their carers in a unique way. By sharing communal knowledge in collaboration, they become active agents in discovering the creative strategies and confidence needed to improve workforce potential.
This initiative is kindly being supported by Black Thrive Lambeth, Elemental Software and Integra Therapy.
Black Swan Wellness to Work Initiative strives to address the health inequalities that effect Black people in the borough of Lambeth by providing expertise to increase work potential.
It serves Black people living with long-term conditions and their carers by having open conversations that reframe common understandings of health in relation to systems of discrimination.
It is a co-creative space partnered with employability experts that empower individuals to build their confidence and enable skilful, embodied communication as they collectively problem solve, find solutions and the right actions to their needs.
Ways to get involved
Living with Health Conditions
Are you a black person with a health condition living in Lambeth keen to improve your employment prospects?
Engaging with Carers
Are you a carer supporting a black person living with a long-term health condition?
Are you unemployed, looking for work, returning to work or experience challenges staying in work?
The Journey so far…
Making the road whilst walking (February 2021)
Paulo Ferrier, the activist, scholar and educator wisely coined this phrase to illustrate that a process of not fully knowing what direction or how one might proceed when you take actions to embark on a journey. Black Swan is one such journey.
To be honest I was hesitant to write openly about the challenges so far in running the project. As project lead, I had fantasies about how much I should know it all (at least a lot of it) and be able to implement the project in the timeline proposed in the outline. If I admitted publically that I ‘didn’t know’ everything, then people wouldn’t trust me and come on the programme. And whilst the programme hasn’t been delivered as I assumed it would be, I’ve had the precious opportunity to set aside my ego, reflect and take a good dose of humble pie to learn from what approach I have taken.
Black Swan has been ‘live’ for six weeks since its launch and finding participants isn’t as easy as I imagined. With the pandemic continuing to effect the movements of people as they go about their daily lives, the opportunities to meet people in-person are virtually non-existent. With the closure of public places to gather such as libraries, job centres and community centres, the chances to talk with residents to hear their experiences about being out of work, what challenges they face and what aspirations they have are minimised.
Discovering creative ways to ‘reach’ people hasn’t been fruitless as it’s allowed me to stretch my abilities, try new things and learn new skills. I take steps to give deliberate space that make waiting and reflecting a learning opportunity. I understand the pace of establishing a network of collaborators and putting a project or idea into the world doesn’t happen just because you ‘think’ it’s going to happen. Making connections with people takes time and care, where laying the ground work for that to happen becomes just as important. At this stage of the process, what I imagined was the recruitment phase alone is in fact a combination of this and literally laying the foundations- making the road whilst walking. I’m inspired as I find others who share Black Swan’s vision and together we see the road ahead becoming clearer.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and you’re welcome to make a comment or share.
Programme starting early 2021
Get in touch
Phone: 07760 376 323