Hackney groups support Filipino community disproportionately affected by Covid-19
- Credit: Kanlungan Filipino Consortium
A Hackney organisation representing Filipino community groups has been working to support its community hit hard by Covid-19.
The Kanlungan Filipino Consortium, based in Hackney Council’s offices for Voluntary Service, is concerned about the disproportionate number of Filipino health workers dying from Covid-19 and the impact the pandemic has had on its wider community.
As of May 26, 184 health and care workers have died with coronavirus in the UK and of those around 14 per cent were of Filipino heritage, according to the PA news agency.
But campaigners say the number of deaths could be much higher.
Susan Cueva, a trustee and volunteer for Kanlungan, told the Gazette: “We believe around a third of all deaths among nurses and 25 pc of total deaths among employees in the NHS are Filipino. This is totally disproportionate.”
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Filipinos are the third most numerous nationality working in the NHS after Britons and Indians, according to House of Commons library data from 2019. Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos live in the UK and 18,500 work in the health service.
Further fears about live-in domestic workers and Filipinos living with unsettled statuses were also highlighted by Kanlungan advocates.
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Susan told the Gazette: “In some cases, employers have both dismissed and evicted live-in domestic workers.
“Many others work in precarious jobs and live in crowded accommodation, but they are also not used to seeking outside assistance.
“Filipinos always work,” she continued.
“They are not used to claiming benefits. They don’t know how to do it.”
She worried about people trying to get by with no savings and no food when they have no recourse to public funds.
“They dare not even seek medical help. These people are facing hunger and destitution,” said Susan.
Kanlungan is an umbrella organisation made up of nine Filipino community organisations and it has been running for 25 years.
It has coordinated over 100 volunteers delivering food several times a week to vulnerable households and is now organising food deliveries as far away as Manchester, Leicester and Surrey.
The organisation has linked a group of Filipino chefs to deliver meals to nurses and health workers in London hospitals such as Homerton, Royal London Hospital and Whipps Cross. It has also set up an advice line providing vital information and support in the Filipino language of Tagalog.
The group is one of many calling on the government to legalise undocumented workers and for a public inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on the BAME community.
Susan said: “The strains on the organisation have almost been unbearable but this shows how small community organisations can have tremendous capacity.”
To find out more about Kanlungan Filipino Consortium visit www.Kanlungan.org.uk
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07397796238
Or to find more groups, networks and organisations in Hackney providing support during the Coronavirus lockdown visit our There With You: Essential List.