Members of the community, voluntary and community sector organisations, representatives from the mental health system, local public sector bodies, and the private sector come together in working groups to address particular issues.  The ethos of working groups is based on continuous learning and “co-inquiry” whereby all participants have something to offer and something to learn in their determination to drive progress.


A guiding principle of Black Thrive is to place the community at the heart of addressing structural barriers that prevent Black people from thriving.  This means that nothing is fixed (unless stated as such) and could change to take account of community perspectives and learning. 


Employment Working Group Remit

The Employment Working Group has been set up to lead work relating to employment in order to  deliver two of Black Thrive’s objectives:

1. Promoting wellbeing and preventing ill health amongst the whole Black population in Lambeth from the age of 18 to their chosen retirement age[1] regardless of their health status.

2. For those who are already facing health challenges, supporting recovery from mental ill health or slowing progression from one to many health conditions, including delivering the Black Thrive Employment Project funded by Guys and St Thomas’ Charity (GSTC) [insert web link to GSTC project summary].



The Employment Working Group will comprises approximately 40 people representing

  • The community;
  • Organisations who can play a significant role in shaping the employment system (key system players);
  • Organisations that provide services and support residents to access the system, some of which may also be key system players.




Our aspiration is that at least 50% of the Working Group should be community representatives. The opportunity to be a community representative on the Working Group was advertised between January and March 2020 to people who are already involved with Black Thrive or indicated that they would wish to be, and those engaged with partner organisations. There are currently 8 community representatives with a range of skills, including lived experience of physical and mental ill health, recruitment, wellbeing, community engagement, peer mentoring, coaching, project management, commissioning and fundraising. We will have up to 6 community researchers working on the employment project, who will also join the Working Group as community representatives.





Key system players

Key system players are partners and organisations who are committed to Black Thrive’s overarching aims and to achieving the objectives of the employment project funded by GSTC, as well as having a good understanding of key issues and the ability to make things happen. The current members of the Working Group are:

  • Age UK
  • Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)
  • Good People (member of Southbank Business Improvement District)
  • Healthwatch Lambeth
  • Homes for Lambeth
  • Inclusion London
  • Kings College London
  • Lambeth Council
  • Lambeth Together (including Living Well Network Alliance)
  • NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
  • Social Finance
  • South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM)
  • The Social Innovation Partnership (TSIP)
  • Walcot Foundation


Providers and support organisations

These are providers of vocational and employment support for people with mental and other health conditions.

  • Central London Works (provided by Ingeus)
  • Job Centre Plus
  • Lambeth Vocational Services
  • Mosaic Clubhouse
  • Renaisi
  • Status Employment


Financial responsibilities

The Employment Working Group will be responsible for making decisions about the allocation of a £300,000 funding pot made available by Guys and St Thomas’ Charity, as much as possible in consultation with the wider Black community in Lambeth.

The funding pot is to enable piloting of different things that might ultimately lead to better employment outcomes for Black people with long term health conditions, thereby slowing progression from one to many conditions.     

Decision-making principles

The criteria for allocating the £300,000 is based on the following principles, which are fixed in terms of their intent but not necessarily wording, and which the Working Group can re-word or supplement. 

  1. Funds must be allocated for the purpose of achieving the objectives of the project, including incorporating information from existing research and from additional information from Black communities in Lambeth gathered through engagement community research.
  2. Activities will seek to inform and or achieve systemic change in some way (however small), ranging from things like incorporating community voice in service design to trialling new models of employment support.
  3. Minimising the structural barriers that prevent Black people and Black-led organisations from developing their skills and accessing funds.
  4. Value for money (definition to be decided by Working Group)
  5. Undertaking risk-based due diligence on recipients prior to allocating funds and through ongoing monitoring arrangements.
  6. Transparency and accountability – ensuring that the basis for decisions is clear and open to scrutiny and recipients of funds are able to report on activity and expenditure.

Mechanism for disbursing funds

Walcot Foundation has been chosen as the grant-giving partner to disburse funds to organisations and individuals based on decisions made by the Working Group. We expect individual grants to generally be between £1,000 and £20,000 but they could be lower or higher. Walcot Foundation will provide the following services free of charge in accordance with instructions from the Working Group:

  • Bespoke online application system
  • Handling of grant offers and agreements with standard grant conditions and any special conditions
  • Making of payments when payment instruction and acceptance of grant conditions are in place. All payments to be by bank transmission. No payments by cheque or cash.
  • Summary reports of grants approved and payments made submitted every quarter.


Ways of Working

It may be necessary to have a core group of community representatives to look at funding proposals in detail and make recommendations to the wider group.  It is also possible that it would make sense for sub groups to focus on particular issues and potential solutions.  The need for, remit and membership of a core group or sub groups is yet to be decided.

Once the group has settled in and received training it will select two co-chairs, at least one of which must be a community representative. The Working Group may consider it appropriate to have people undertaking other roles such as

  • Community engagement and or Communications – working with the Black Thrive Communications Lead and comms leads for the other working groups to ensure that key messages are communicated across the groups and externally; lead on engagement with communities.
  • Research – supporting the coordination of the community researcher element; With support from the Black Thrive facilitation team and liaising with Master and PhD students who want to link in with Black Thrive work (e.g. joining advisory panels or recruiting people to advisory panels); lead on reflection sessions with overall Black Thrive evaluator, Sheffield Hallam University.


Learning and development

The Working Group will have a role in designing its learning and development package to supplement the core induction covering information about Black Thrive, systems change through an anti-racist lens and the combined health-employment-welfare system.

The intention is that the Working Group will be run in the spirit of participative learning and development whereby people will be able to discuss and challenge prevailing concepts.



The Working Group will report regularly to the Black Thrive Partnership Board and to Healthwatch Lambeth trustees as appropriate.


The Working Group will meet approximately once a month. Sub groups may meet more frequently.

Various models for optimising participation will need to be explored including e-enabled meetings, different venues, lunches/dinners.

Support for the Working Group


Support for the Working Group will be provided primarily by the two new posts in the Black Thrive Facilitation Team funded by GSTC – Programme and Partnerships Manager (employment) and Programme and Partnerships Officer (employment). These are currently being recruited.

Further support will be provided by other members of the Black Thrive facilitation team such as the Communications Lead, and Working Group members who have expertise in areas such as research, employment, welfare benefits and grant-giving.