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Wycombe food poverty debate to headline BNU’s Black History Month

Staff and students at Buckinghamshire New University will have the opportunity to attend various events in October as part of this year’s Black History Month celebrations, which includes the university hosting a public debate on how High Wycombe can eradicate food poverty.

Led by the University’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Staff Network, informal discussions on critical race theory and the social construct of Whiteness will take place for staff, while a new Beyond Black History Month book club launches and the popular celebration of music, Radio Black, returns after its success last year.

For students, there is a panel Q&A event on 20 October hosted by the BAME Staff Network and featuring four established BNU alum, who will help current students to build their careers and learn from any challenges the alum have overcome – free tickets for the COVID-19 secure event at the High Wycombe campus can be registered for here.

No topic or question is off the table in this safe space as Modupe Salu (pictured top-left), Gavin James (top-right), Ricardo P Lloyd (bottom-left) and Karla Inniss (bottom-right) offer career advice, share their insights, and explain how they’ve overcome any challenges they’ve faced whilst progressing in the various industries they’ve worked in, including: education; entertainment; sports; leisure; and the public sector.

Picture of the four BNU alum taking part in a Black History Month careers panel event

On 28 October, BNU’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nick Braisby, will chair a public debate bringing together six panellists from local organisations committed to eradicating food poverty in High Wycombe – free tickets for the COVID-19 secure event can be registered for here with BNU staff, students and the local community all welcome. A recent report from the University of Sheffield highlighted how the most ethnically diverse and deprived area in Buckinghamshire has the UK’s highest levels of ‘food insecurity’ – the inability to consistently afford, access and utilise the food needed to maintain good health and wellbeing.

The report estimates that: 14% of people in High Wycombe are hungry; 29% struggle to access food; and 22% worry about having enough food. These alarming figures come as the COVID-19 pandemic’s universal credit uplift of £20 a week for low-income families and the coronavirus job retention (furlough) scheme are ending. Increases in food, petrol and energy prices mean that more families will struggle as winter beckons.

Commenting on the upcoming events, Professor Braisby said: “BNU is proud once again to be hosting several important events to celebrate and recognise Black History Month. It is an opportunity collectively to reflect on the history and achievements of our Black community and use this to inspire our continued efforts to be an inclusive institution, driving equality for all our staff, students and local communities. I hope to see many staff and students enjoy these events, expertly hosted by our BAME Staff Network.”