Connect with us

Published

on

The charity boss at the centre of the Buckingham Palace racism row and her six siblings grew up in the 1960s as the “only black family on our road.

Ngozi Fulani, now 61, said her parents, who had moved to Britain from Barbados as part of the Windrush generation, “embraced everybody” and never allowed the “barriers we faced outside” to be brought into the house in Kilburn, northwest London.

In an interview with Future Hackney, Ms Fulani said her father would take them to house parties because “black people were not allowed” in pubs.

She was once “shooed” away by a white teacher at school, while her brothers would “come home with their faces swollen” having been bullied by their peers or attacked by the police, she added.

And when her sister gave birth at the age of 17, her white social worker used a racist term to describe her baby.

“We were very aware from the get-go that even though we were born here, we were not welcome,” she wrote.

The interview concluded with Ms Fulani saying: “Nothing has changed. It’s just different. The racism is just as intense, the hate is still there.”

‘Couldn’t stay silent’ about Meghan racism accusations

When the Duchess of Sussex told Oprah Winfrey in 2021 that a member of the royal household had concerns about the colour of her son Archie’s skin before he was born, Ms Fulani tweeted: “I can’t stay silent about this. I admire Meghan for speaking out.

“According to clear definition, it seems Meghan is a survivor of domestic violence from her in-laws.”

At the time Buckingham Palace said that issues raised by Meghan, “particularly that of race”, were “concerning” and would be “addressed privately”.

On Tuesday, as the chief executive and co-founder of Sistah Space, a charity that supports domestic abuse victims of African and Caribbean heritage, she attended a reception at Buckingham Palace.

File photo dated 29/11/2022 of Ngozi Fulani (2nd left) at a reception at Buckingham Palace, London. The prominent black advocate for survivors of domestic abuse has revealed how she was repeatedly asked by a member of the Buckingham Palace household at the Queen Consort's reception where she "really came from". Issue date: Wednesday November 30, 2022.
Image:
Ms Fulani pictured with Camilla, Queen Consort at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday

The event, part of the United Nations’ 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, was also attended by first lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska and former Spice Girl Mel B.

There, Ms Fulani was approached by Lady Susan Hussey, one of the late Queen’s longest-serving ladies in waiting.

In a Twitter post afterwards, she revealed how the 83-year-old had repeatedly asked her “where she really came from” and “what part of Africa” she was from.

Lady Hussey, who is Prince William’s godmother, has since resigned from her palace duties.

Learning about Africa from white teachers sometimes felt ‘traumatic’

Although her parents came from the Caribbean, after leaving home and moving to Hackney at 18, Ms Fulani says discovering an African dance group was the “day her life changed”.

The “connection with Africa” it gave her was a “pivotal moment” that, she says, “became her lifelong story”.

Five years after joining the class, she began to teach herself – eventually running the Emashi Dance ensemble, which in December 1997 saw her meet King Charles at an event for the Prince’s Trust.

Ngozi Fulani and her two-year-old daughter with King Charles at a Prince's Trust event in December 1997
Image:
Ngozi Fulani and her two-year-old daughter with King Charles at a Prince’s Trust event in December 1997

At that time she was studying for a Master’s degree in African Studies at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

She says that although she had a small number of black teachers, there were only four other black students in her class.

“We had to learn about our culture from middle class white people,” she wrote. “It did not feel authentic and at times I found it traumatic.

“It was at this point I realised how much trouble we were in and how far we had to go.”

Murder of woman and her baby sparked charity

Years later, in 2014, when Ms Fulani was working as a marriage registrar, a 45-year-old woman called Valerie Forde was murdered alongside her 22-month-old daughter by her ex-partner in Hackney.

Six weeks before he killed the pair with a machete, Ms Forde had reported him for threatening to burn down her house with her and their daughter inside.

An independent investigation later found the victims were badly let down by police, with two detective sergeants found guilty of misconduct and given written warnings.

Valerie Forde’s story drove Ms Fulani to train as an independent domestic violence advocate and in 2015 set up a charity specifically for African and Caribbean domestic abuse survivors in the area.

Sistah Space supports survivors in “whatever way they need”, Ms Fulani says – whether that is helping them to flee abuse or accompanying them to court.

The organisation works to “ensure cultural factors are not only considered but understood” and that “cultural barriers and biases are removed”.

Ngozi Fulani, CEO of Sistah Space
Image:
Pic: Sistah Space

She and her co-founder Rosanna Lewis also offer training on cultural competency and best practice.

This includes abuse injuries not being as visible on darker skin tones and a reluctance to report abusers to police.

“Women want the abuse to stop but we know what happens to black men in police custody,” she told The Guardian in 2020. “These women do not want to risk their abusers being hurt or murdered.”

Read more:
William and Kate booed over race row
Analysis – pressure is on King Charles over racism accusations

In an interview with Sky News, she added: “There are so many things that women like us have to consider before we access mainstream services.

“We are often met by people who see black women as not in need of protection, we often get things like ‘strong woman like you, I can’t believe anybody would do anything to you’.

“So this tendency to brush off domestic abuse and sexual abuse is so inherent that most black women don’t see the point in reporting domestic abuse to a system that doesn’t see them and doesn’t listen.”

Ms Fulani told LBC in an interview on Wednesday that she would be “happy to have a conversation to bring about a positive solution” with the royals, but that she felt “violated” and “interrogated” by her experience at the palace.

Continue Reading

UK

Man dies after being crushed by pop-up telescopic urinal in London’s West End

Published

on

By

Man dies after being crushed by pop-up telescopic urinal in London's West End

A maintenance worker in central London has died after being crushed by a hydraulic telescopic urinal – one that’s kept underground during the day and kept out overnight.

Emergency services were called to Cambridge Circus in the West End just after 1pm on Friday to reports of a “seriously injured” man.

The incident took place outside the Palace Theatre, home to Harry Potter And The Cursed Child.

Firefighters, ambulance crews and an air ambulance were deployed at 1.05pm and police were called five minutes later.

Emergency services tried to save the man, who has not been named, but he died at the scene.

Emergency services work to free the man. Pic: KetoCancerQueen
Image:
Emergency services worked to free the man. Pic: KetoCancerQueen

In a statement on Twitter, Metropolitan Police said: “We’re sorry to have to update that, despite the efforts of emergency services, the man who was critically injured in Cambridge Circus was pronounced dead at the scene.

“His next of kin have been informed. Cordons remain in place at the location.

“Police were called at around 1.10pm on Friday January 27, to a seriously injured man at Cambridge Circus, W1.

“The man is thought to have sustained crush injuries while working on a telescopic urinal at the location.”

A London Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We were called today at 1.05pm to reports of an incident on Shaftesbury Avenue, Charing Cross.

“We sent a number of resources to the scene, including an ambulance crew, members of our hazardous area response team, members of our tactical response unit and a medic in a fast response car.

“We also dispatched London’s Air Ambulance.”

Roads in the area have been closed.

The telescopic or hydraulic urinal is a pop-up urinal that comes out of the ground at night and is stored underground during the day.

Continue Reading

UK

Wynter Andrews: Nottingham University Hospitals NHS trust fined £800,000 over baby’s death 23 minutes after birth

Published

on

By

Wynter Andrews: Nottingham University Hospitals NHS trust fined £800,000 over baby's death 23 minutes after birth

An NHS trust has been fined £800,000 for a “catalogue of failings and errors” that led to the death of a baby 23 minutes after she was born.

Wynter Andrews died in the arms of her parents, Sarah and Gary Andrews, on 15 September 2019 due to a lack of oxygen to the brain, shortly after an emergency Caesarean section at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.

Sarah and Gary Andrews arrive at Nottingham Magistrates' Court
Image:
Sarah and Gary Andrews arrive at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Friday morning

Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust had admitted two counts of failing to provide safe care and treatment resulting in harm and loss at a court hearing on Wednesday.

Sentencing at the city’s magistrates’ court on Friday, district judge Grace Leong said: “The catalogue of failings and errors exposed Mrs Andrews and her baby to a significant risk of harm which was avoidable, and such errors ultimately resulted in the death of Wynter and post-traumatic stress for Mrs Andrews and Mr Andrews.

“My assessment is that the level of culpability is high, where offences on Wynter and Mrs Andrews are concerned.

“There were systems in place, but there were so many procedures and practices where guidance was not followed or adhered to or implemented.”

District judge Leong added the “systematic failures” were “more than sufficient” to cause harm to Wynter and her mother.

She said the total fine, combining the sums for offences against both Wynter and Mrs Andrews, would have been £1.2m, but this was reduced to £800,000 due to the trust’s early guilty pleas.

The judge also said she was “acutely aware” any fine would have to be paid out of public funds which would otherwise be spent on patient care.

The trust, which will pay prosecution costs of £13,668.65 and a victim surcharge of £181, has asked for two years to pay the fine.

Read more:
Why maternity scandals keep happening
Baby deaths mystery from 1930s solved

Speaking outside the court, Mrs Andrews said she hoped the significant fine “sends a clear message to trust managers that they must hold patient safety in the highest regard”.

She added: “Sadly, we are not the only family harmed the trust’s failings.

“We feel that this sentence isn’t just for Wynter, but it’s for all the other babies that have gone before and after her.”

Mrs Andrews has previously said she was “failed in the most cruel way” by the trust and its management had been “repeatedly warned by staff about safety at the unit” but “failed to act”.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), which inspects health services in England, said last July that it would prosecute the trust.

The maternity unit at the QMC was rated as inadequate by the CQC, with the hospital overall rated as requiring improvement, when it was inspected last March.

Mrs Andrews was admitted to hospital on 14 September 2019, her planned due date, after an “uncomplicated” pregnancy.

An induced labour planned for 7 September was cancelled on her request, but an investigation later found this was signed off by a midwife without consulting an obstetrician, and limited reasoning was given for the decision in medical notes.

Once Mrs Andrews was in labour, Wynter’s heartbeat was described as “suspicious” by doctors, who decided to deliver her via caesarean section.

After complications during the surgery, she was delivered in a “poor” condition and died 23 minutes and 30 seconds later despite “extensive efforts” to resuscitate her.

Continue Reading

UK

Jeremy Hunt confirms HS2 will reach central London after reports it might stop in suburbs

Published

on

By

Jeremy Hunt confirms HS2 will reach central London after reports it might stop in suburbs

HS2 will end at Euston after reports the high speed line could stop before reaching central London, the chancellor has confirmed.

Jeremy Hunt said he did not see “any conceivable circumstance” the original plan would not be followed and that he was “incredibly proud” of the work going ahead.

The end-point of the line came into question after a report in the Sun, claiming the last leg of HS2 could be scrapped and replaced with a new hub at Old Oak Common in the suburbs of west London.

Politics live: ‘Best tax cut right now is cut to inflation,’ says Hunt

This would leave passengers having to finish their journey into the centre of the capital on the new Elizabeth underground line.

The government did not deny the reports or that a two to five-year delay to the entire project – currently due to be completed between 2029 and 2033 – was being considered due to record high inflation impacting costs.

However, when asked if he and the government were committed to the line ending in Euston as planned, Mr Hunt said: “Yes we are.”

More on Jeremy Hunt

As questions continue surrounding  Nadhim Zahawi's tax affairs, Sir Jeremy Hunt says he has never paid an HMRC fine.
Image:
Jeremy Hunt dismissed reports the Euston hub would be scrapped.

The chancellor added: “I don’t see any conceivable circumstance in which that would not end up at Euston and indeed I prioritised HS2 in the autumn statement.

“We have not got a good record in this country of delivering complex, expensive infrastructure quickly but I’m incredibly proud that for the first time in this last decade under a Conservative government we have shovels in the ground, we are building HS2 and we are going to make it happen.”

Planning your route into London

Making the the final southern destination for HS2 a station at Old Oak Common – which is yet to be built – could well have saved the government billions.

But what would the impact have been on passengers?

Let’s say Euston is your final destination.

You would get off at the new station, which will be fairly close to Hammersmith in west London, and take the Elizabeth Line to Tottenham Court Road – a journey of around 15 minutes.

From there, you could take the Northern Line two stops to Euston.

Or, if you’re feeling energetic, it would be a 20-minute walk.

Map shows journey from Old Oak Common to central London
Image:
Map shows journey from Old Oak Common to central London

The HS2 project has been dogged by criticism over its financial and environmental impact.

In October 2021, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove suggested capital investment for the line would be reviewed.

But after being installed at Number 11, Mr Hunt subsequently backed the project.

The target cost of Phase 1 between London and Birmingham was £40.3bn at 2019 prices, despite an overall budget of £55.7bn being set just four years earlier.

Penny Gaines from campaign group Stop HS2 said it is “not at all surprising” that costs were spiralling out of control.

“These reports just show that there are so many problems with HS2,” she added. “It’s being delayed further and further so the cost is going up, it should be cancelled in its entirety as soon as possible.”

Continue Reading

Trending