Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Network

The Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Network is a vibrant and progressive forum where staff can discuss issues and seek solutions. 

The forum actively promotes initiatives that creates awareness to all staff and looks to celebrate key dates such as Black History Month. 

The forum links in with all the network forums for inclusivity and intersectionality.

Black History Month 2023 - #SalutingOurSisters

At KMPT, we are proud to have a workforce of over 3,700 people from 66 nationalities.

As we come together to reflect on the impact of this year’s Black History Month and look forward to building-on our Workforce Race Equality Standard action plan, which features positive initiatives to encourage black, Asian and minority ethnic employees to embark upon developmental and leadership programmes, we caught up with two of the trust’s women of colour to find out about their experiences of working at KMPT.

Colleagues Winnifred (Winnie) Lindley and Nolwazi (Nolly) Nkungufor, Team Leader and Matron for Low Secure and Learning Disability Services at the Tarentfort Centre, Dartford are long-serving international members of the KMPT team.

The theme of Black History Month 2023 celebrations was to mark the invaluable contribution of black people to British society and share their stories to inspire and empower future generations… we think you’ll agree that Winnie and Nolly do just that.

Winnie settled in the UK after travelling the world in her early twenties. Born and raised in Trinidad, Winnie now considers Britain home and after joining KMPT as a student nurse in 2018, she progressed to team leader just two years later.

While she regularly visits family in her native land and will always be a Trinidadian first and foremost, Winnie credits the UK for broadening her social and cultural circle and the NHS for boosting her career opportunities. As a KMPT employee, Winnie feels professionally supported and encouraged and rates the trust’s forward-thinking and evolving ethos:

“Most of our service users are white UK residents, while our workforce comprises people from lots of different countries, religions and races – this means we all have differences and can learn from each other’s cultures and values.

“Caring for people regardless of race and being professional always comes first – it’s why we’re here and it’s what we do.

“Our service users typically respect, and respond to, our team dynamic and daily routines rather than, or before, judging people on their skin colour. Ignorant comments are rare but, like in any workplace, not unheard of.

“By establish strong relationships and clear boundaries of acceptable behaviour, inappropriate remarks and judgemental mindsets can be managed appropriately and effectively.

“For most of my team and the majority of each shift, skin colour really isn’t a talking point. We treat and support some of society’s most vulnerable people – in-patients with a learning disability whose offending behaviour and complex mental health needs require care in a low secure setting.

“Talking and explaining everyday things, that most of us take for granted, is an important part of our service users’ wellbeing and recovery – and food is certainly something that brings us all together in a relaxed and inclusive way.

“Our different countries of origin make our regular cookery and dining sessions a firm favourite. It’s wonderful to be part of something so uplifting that unites us all.”

Nolly came to the UK from South Africa aged 15 with her mother who worked as a nurse and inspired her to pursue the same vocation.

She joined KMPT in 2013 as a mental health nurse, keen to give back to the community where she had grown up. Today, Nolly rates KMPT as a transformation trust which supports the professional and personal growth of women of colour.

Despite warning her it was difficult to be a black nurse in the NHS when her family arrived some years earlier, Nolly was determined to overcome any hurdles faced by her mother.

Nolly cites her calm and caring nature and the many opportunities presented to her in the UK as the reason for her success – she became a Band 6 nurse within just six months of qualifying:

“KMPT celebrates new and different ways of working, together – as a team, we identify needs, react and provide the right and relevant care.

“Since being part of the NHS, I have been able to pursue roles in the community and in-patient settings, as well as our crisis and early intervention teams, as a ward manager, clinical lead and now Matron.

“Such first-hand understanding has well-equipped me to mentor students and support colleagues but on a personal level has enabled me to progress my career and feel professionally valued and fulfilled.

“I am forever grateful to be able to help people on their recovery journeys and for them to share their life experiences and trust me with their care. Together, we wake up every day to help others heal from their wounds – even if the day does not go as planned, we learn from it and do better the following day.

“However proud I am of being a black female working for a UK mental health trust, is only surpassed by my grandmother who still lives in South Africa. A former matron who turned 100 this year, she never forgets to tell visitors that her granddaughter is living and working as a Matron in England, despite her failing memory.