We carry out research that aims to understand the health needs of the African and African-Caribbean community and the challenges that are faced when accessing health services.  We also carry out projects that aim to improve the health and well-being of the black community. You can view some of our work below.

Croydon Diabetes Community Champions

The Lake Foundation teamed up with Diabetes UK in early 2017 to deliver a Diabetes Community Champions project in Croydon aimed at the black community.

Diabetes affects 1 in 13 people in Croydon with over 19,000 affected and an additional 6400 people who don’t know they have it. Diabetics are three times more likely to develop renal failure, 2.5 times more likely to develop heart failure and twice as likely to develop stroke. Additionally, in Croydon, 38% of amputations are in diabetics and 14% of sight loss occurs in diabetics.

There are a number of high risk groups in Croydon including the black community who are three times more likely to develop diabetes than their white counterparts and hence there is a need to focus on this community.

Diabetes costs Croydon £123.7M per year, these costs are related to treatment, management of complications and wider societal costs such as informal care, social care and lost productivity.

Through out project we recruited and trained 17 diabetes community champions and they have been able to reach hundreds of people with the key messages about diabetes and its prevention. The Lake Foundation has now moved to the Caribbean and Diabetes UK is continuing with this work. A full report will be available in 2018 but you can read a short update here.

Getting the Black Community Active Via Cycling

A core part of our work is to get the black community more active.

Exercise can be very intimidating for many people and thus we sought to explore various options on how we could get people active in a way that could be incorporated into everyday life and would ultimately be fun.

Cycling is an interesting option as it is very practical and can be introduced into a person’s life as a method of transport (commuting to work), as a leisure activity (exploring the local area) and as a form of structured exercise.

Through our cycling club we were able to show that if cycling is presented to members of the BME community without any barriers (bikes and helmets provided) they will happily take up this activity and easily meet the government’s recommended amount of physical activity.

One important point to note is that the social aspect of the club was very important. It would appear that our group of BME cyclists looked at cycling as more of a leisure activity rather than a method of transport or structured exercise. This suggests that to encourage more people from a BME background to cycle projects that promote cycling for leisure rather than for commuting and exercise are more likely to appeal to the BME community; and these projects would need to be group activities that promote social interaction.

You can read a summary of our cycling club project here

Is a Cancer Support Group the Best Way to Support Black Cancer Patients?

The Lake Foundation ran a cancer support group for two years from 2014 to 2016. The support group was set up after establishing the need for support for black patients. Published reports from the UK’s Department of Health stated that: there was no customized support services or information for black and minority ethnic (BME) patients; the NHS takes a Eurocentric approach to cancer care which is not relevant to the needs of BME patients; the key issues around religion and culture were trivialized during patient assessments; BME cancer patients are less likely to report a positive experience with regards to the care they receive; and African Caribbean women experienced poor signposting to culturally appropriate services, particularly those related to their practical support needs. They also found that patients would prefer locally-based services and that peer support was strongly desired.

With the above in mind we set up a support group with funding from Croydon Council and Macmillan Cancer Support. From this work we learnt that whilst there is a need for support for black cancer patients, support groups may not be the most appealing method of supporting black patients. It is possible that a structured course with time for discussion and social activities would be a more effective way to support patients. We will explore this further.

You can read a summary of our cancer support  group project here 

Fibroids Awareness, Information and Support Programme

We are developing a fibroids awareness, information and support programme. The first phase of this work was to understand the needs of women with fibroids and we achieved this by conducting some qualitative research.

The findings from our work suggested that a significant number of women with fibroids do not have access to the support and information that they require to successfully manage their condition. You can read more about the findings on our blog here or download the full report here: Fibroids_Survey_Summary_Final

The findings of this survey are informing the direction of our work and since the publication of our report we have developed a blog series on fibroids, delivered a number of  awareness presentations, published a fibroids booklet, formed an expert panel and hosted a conference for women affected by fibroids.

This work is ongoing, please visit the fibroids section under our Learning Zone for updates and more information.

Prostate Cancer Community Engagement and Empowerment Pilot


The Lake Foundation was awarded funding by Prostate Cancer UK to conduct a community engagement and empowerment pilot. This pilot ran from October 2014 to January 2015 and explored effective methods of reaching the black community with the key messages of prostate cancer.

We evaluated whether engaging with black churches is in reality an effective method of raising awareness of prostate cancer in the black community. Our work provided the data that informed Prostate Cancer UK’s new Faith Based Outreach Project.

Our pilot found that ultimately a successful approach to raising awareness of prostate cancer through churches requires :

  • An understanding of a church’s structure;
  • The development of a bespoke awareness programme that targets multiple departments, forums and events in a church’s calendar;
  • The development of  long term relationship with churches;
  • Flexibility;
  • Consistent engagement; and
  • Persistence.

You can read our report on this pilot: Prostate Cancer Engagement and Empowerment Pilot The Lake Foundation