Helping Hands


Date: 22nd Dec 2016

A documentary by Buckinghamshire New University and the organisation Chiltern Moving Art is looking to 'bridge a knowledge gap' in how social services in the county can work closer together with elderly black and ethnic minority (BME) people in Buckinghamshire.

Helping Hands with Coloured Bands is directed by Dr Mahuya Kanjilal (pictured), a Research Associate at Bucks New University, with academic Dr Elaine Arnull, and Chiltern Moving Art, a Chesham-based community group.  Helping Hands with Coloured Bands

The 36-minute documentary is based on research with 31 participants from BME groups, revealing their views and experiences on social care services and any areas they raise which are not being covered. It is being used as a teaching resource for BSc (Hons) Social Work students at the University and being screened around the county.

Dr Kanjilal said the documentary revealed issues including ensuring elderly people from the BME community were aware of the variety of care services available and how to access these services; that any issues arising from language barriers were effectively tackled;  and that cultural factors arising in how people were cared for were taken into account.

She said: "This documentary film will help to strengthen interaction between ethnic minority communities and social care service providers.

Nationally, it is a well-recognised fact that the BME community access less services vast majority of people in the community are not aware of the range of care services available.

"This film has not only brought out the gaps but is also helping elderly people to learn about social care services. It was a very difficult journey for myself as researcher. I have witnessed the struggle of elderly people especially those who live alone or who are caring for their other half. My own family experience also brings out a reflection of the same difficulties and more.

Helping Hands with Coloured Bands"I am hoping this research will reduce the knowledge deficit among the community on social care and cultural awareness among service providers. I would like the impact of my research to be for the many groups involved to take the solution forward and bridge the knowledge gap."

A Buckinghamshire County Council spokesman said: "This film does a very good job in highlighting the difficulties that can be experienced by black and minority ethnic elders in accessing social care services that properly meet their needs.

"This is an issue which we continually seek to improve upon, and we will be holding a forum with our partner agencies in the New Year to look at the ways we can achieve additional inclusivity for this group of service users.

"However it is important to say that, based on the last census, we know that in 2014/15 24 per cent of BME older people aged over 65 were in receipt of a service from Adult Social Care, compared to 13 per cent of white people aged over 65.

"This is in the context of white people comprising 96 per cent of our 65+ population in Bucks compared to BME groups making up 4 per cent."

The documentary's first screening was at Bucks New University in front of an audience including service providers at Bucks County Council, doctors, and Chiltern District Council and members of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

For more details or to request a screening email or call 01494 603029.

Dr Kanjilal directed a previous documentary film about British Asian women living in Buckinghamshire, called Grey Side of the Sky, focusing on the past problems, present situations and the future aspirations of second-generation British-born Asian women.


  • Research