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Power of the Parent 1: S3 Ep1: Tinuke Awe

Power of the Parent 1: S3 Ep1: Tinuke Awe

What a way to start season three of the podcast!Absolutely honoured to be joined by the brilliant Tinuke Awe – social entrepreneur who is passionate about all things Black motherhood. She was named British Vogue force for change in 2021 for her work with the Five x More campaign which calls for overdue improvements in Black maternal health in the UK. Tinuke is also the founder of Mums and Tea, a social platform for Black mothers which has over a 12,000 strong community.

There’s also one more to add to the mix – Learning with Ez is the home of resources to support Black parents navigate through the experiences of parenting a neurodiverse child. And yep, she did the impossible and found time in her day
to chat!

Tinuke shares her story, how she manages her boundaries when the platforms she runs are so close to home, her hopes for Black mothers and the empowering and protective way she shares the stories of others. You can also find Tinuke on Instagram here.

Episode Transcript

Charlotte Speak  0:06

Hello and welcome to power the parent the podcast. I’m your host Charlotte speak, I’m a level seven CMI accredited coach, a strength scope Master Practitioner, Mental Health First Aider and talent consultant. And I’m also the face behind power of the parent. In this podcast, I’ll be speaking to parents in the workplace. Some of them are in traditionally employed roles, others are running their own businesses. And we’re having conversations about life in general, insights about being a parent and having a career and exploring the strengths that parenting has awoken for people. We will talk about things like the value that they’re bringing to the workplace, as well as my guests very generously sharing their personal stories and anecdotes about everything life can throw at us.

Hello, and welcome back to the next episode of power of the parent the podcast. Today I am joined by Tinuke Awe. Tinuke is a social entrepreneur who is passionate about all things black motherhood. She was named as the British Vogue force for change in 2021 and her work with the five times more campaign, calling for improvements in black maternal mental health in the UK, is something that so many of us are now tuned into and hopefully supporting. Tinuke is also the founder of mums and tea, a social platform for black mothers, which is, which has an over 12,000 strong community. And if that wasn’t enough, she is also the founder of learning with Ez, the home of resources to support black parents navigate through the experiences of parenting a neurodiverse child. You can find Tinuke’s work in so many places. But the ones I will mention are dispatches, Gracia, CNN, The Guardian, Huffington Post, the BMJ and pretty recently, she’s been hanging out at the Brits so I think there’s a possible fourth business venture in here of being a solo artist, but we’ll you know, we’ll explore that and see if that’s an actual goer in the conversation. So thank you so much for joining me Tinuke, it is a pleasure as always to talk to you.

Tinuke Awe  2:31

Thank you so much for having me, Charlotte.

Charlotte Speak  2:34

Now, you are a busy girl.

Tinuke Awe  2:36

Listen, I was literally just saying, I’m actually driving as we record this podcast. I was kicked out of where I was, I thought I was gonna be there for longer so I thought I could sit down and like, you know, be able to like really give my all, I’ll still give my all, don’t worry, but I’m actually multitasking and driving home. So yeah. As I was saying before, no, not busy at all. I’m like one of the laziest people.

Charlotte Speak  3:01

You wish, you wish to be lazy. I think it’s obvious from that list. And that doesn’t incorporate the fact that you are a mum to two beautiful babies and you are part of a family and have just, you know, life going on not just all of that kind of the work stuff. I say work, it’s it’s full of passion, isn’t it? The stuff that you’re doing as well. One of the things that always kind of crosses my mind, particularly with the work that you do specifically, is how close to home all of those, like the platforms and the work that you that you’re doing are, like it’s it’s so fresh and in front of you, isn’t it? How do you, kind of, or do you ever switch off? Or is it like, no, I’m, this is me, I’m on the wheel all the time or, kind of, how do you navigate some of that?

Tinuke Awe  4:01

God, I used to be like that, I used to have no boundaries and just keep pushing and pushing and pushing until I experienced a really bad period of like burnout. And then I was like, right. Something’s got to give. So yeah, I just had to get really strict on making sure that I was giving myself enough time and space. Every Wednesday is my night off. So I told my husband look, you come home early. Look after your kids, you you sort them out, you feed them bed them, bath them, whatever you need to do. And I’m gonna go, I’m gonna go and do whatever I need to do. Whether that be, I’m just driving around to just clear my head and get my thoughts just, you know, like together. Going to catch up with friends, going for a meal, go to do my nails, go to do something, you know, do my hair or do something to do with self care. It’s just an evening for me, for my downtime to switch off and have no kids, have no husband, it’s me time. And I’ve had to think, I had to be intentional about having a set day and a specific day so I’ve got something to look forward to as well. And obviously, I tried to have my down moments, so when I pick up the kids from school, you know, from or from nursery should I say because they’re still quite little. Because nursery fees killing me. And I pick them up from nursery you know, I’m very particular on making sure that you know, phones away, you know, I’m not just like scrolling into my never ending to do lists then into answering emails and whatnot. No, phones away, spend time with them, make sure that they know that they’re important and that I love them. And that all of this is for them, you know, so I’ve got to make sure I at least enjoy the time that I’ve got with them. So yeah, making sure you know, I’ve just got those those little pockets of time where I’m not on, all the time.

Charlotte Speak  6:01

Yeah, that sounds great. We need to, when we do eventually meet up because we’ve talked a lot offline, haven’t we? When we do eventually manage to meet up is gonna have to be on a Wednesday, isn’t it?

Tinuke Awe  6:13

It will have to be on a Wednesday. Yes, please.

Charlotte Speak  6:18

So shed a bit more light for me on your experience of setting up all of your different, your businesses and the charity and everything I guess, around how that’s been and, your, I don’t know what, what you’re happy to kind of, I guess, share about what that journey has been like, because it all happened in really close succession, didn’t it?

Tinuke Awe  6:43

Yeah, no, it definitely did. It definitely did. I think it all kind of started like literally just before I became a mum. So when I was pregnant, I was reading a lot of stories online about you know, social isolation and depression that like new mums often face, like loneliness, that kind of thing and I was like, I didn’t want that happened to me so Mums and Tea was kind of, it was a little bit selfish, but also it was a way for me to get out and make friends. And, you know, I was the first one out of my close friends to like, get married and have a baby. So that already was quite an isolating experience. I was just like, okay, I really don’t want to be isolated on my journey when it comes to motherhood. So, Mums and Tea it was kind of inevitable for me to set up because, yeah, I just, I just thought, oh, I’ve got to meet other mums that look like me. And yeah, that’s kind of how it started. And I had the first meeting, and it was friends of friends because obviously none of my friends were kind of, you know, were on that journey with me at the same time. Yeah, I remember the first meeting, it was brilliant. I was like a disorganised mess. Obviously, I’m heavily pregnant. I’m trying to, you know, put on an event. I locked myself out of the event. Thank God, it was summer, ey? Like we were just having a great time until the person came and obviously gave us a spare key, but we were just, it was just, it was so fun. It was good vibes. And I was like, I really like this. I’m gonna make sure I keep this up. Even when baby comes. And so yeah, I started doing more meet-ups, just advertising it on like social media and telling, you know, people, if you know anyone that’s pregnant, like, you know, send them my way. And a few of them were in my house. A few of them were like, you know, in the local area, then we started expanding. So I’m from South London. Rap, rap, rap rap rap. Never take, you know, to take the girl out of South and whatnot. But yeah, they were initially in South London and then it was getting so big. And I did one in East London and that was huge. And then I expanded and I was like, okay, right, North London, you want a bit of us? I was kind of going. [I bet they did] Yeah, I’m just doing my meet ups. And yeah, it was good. It was brilliant to be fair, just because I know I’ve been able to, you know, be the backbone of so many black mums connecting, like the amount of like testimonies I have and people being like, I literally my best friend now is because I met her at mums and tea and we’re inseparable now. And you know, you can’t put a price on that it’s about forming those connections, because that’s exactly what I wanted it to do. I wanted people to get out of the house and come and meet new friends and like, you know, get knowledge, we would have like someone that did first aid or we’d have someone come in and talking about weaning and potty training and stuff like, so much. So yeah, value added as well as making new friends. And obviously, it’s, you know, it’s basically a mother’s meeting, you know what happens when you get a bunch of mums together. We’re exchanging stories, exchanging experiences, especially in the in the early days, when the babies were really, really young, we’d, you know, share stories of, of our labour experiences. And I didn’t have such a great experience giving birth to Ezekiel, who’s now four. But yeah, it was a really bad experience, really, really negative experience. And then I was speaking to other black mums, like from all across London, and they’re reporting really similar things that, you know, they just weren’t listened to, or they, their pain was dismissed, or they weren’t taken seriously, which led to like further complications, you know, emergency C sections, or like sepsis or, you know, really, you know, life threatening complications. I mean, mine certainly was quite life threatening in that I had preeclampsia that wasn’t diagnosed until I was 38 weeks. And that’s really bad for mum and baby. So yeah, like, I was just like, well, hang on. I’m like, something’s not quite right here. I’m not sure. I’m not sure what it is, I can’t quite put my finger on it. And then, in 2019, the statistics came out that, oh, black women are five times more likely to die. So I looked at that. I was shocked but I wasn’t surprised because, you know, everything that I was hearing from the community. So I said to myself, right, I’ve got to do something, I can’t keep, I cannot stay silent. I don’t like injustice, I think I should have been a barrister or a lawyer in my previous life because I don’t like injustice. I hate when things are just not fair. And I was like this, is the stats don’t add up. They don’t make sense. How can a population of women who don’t account for a lot of the population, like it is a really small number, very, very, very small number of black women. But yet, we happen to be five times more likely to die than white women. It just didn’t, the over representation in that data, it just didn’t make sense to me. And so I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to do something about it. I didn’t know what. So I called up my friend, Clo, who runs prosperities. And she supports black and South Asian mothers when it comes to like maternal well being and throughout pregnancy, and then the first year, and I was like, well, you know, you’ve got this kind of almost clinical background, because she worked in a hospital at the time. She’s got all these connections, and I’ve got the mums and, I’m you know, pretty nifty on social media. And I was like, would you like to, like join forces and do something. And that’s how five times more came about. We had the first event and I thought it would just be something on, you know, kind of live on social media. And that was it. At the time we started, I was pregnant with my second child. And yeah, like that, that’s kind of how that started. And I remember there was, so as I said, I mentioned I was pregnant for a reason. There was a petition that we have started back in March of 2020. But we weren’t quite too sure about COVID at the time, it was kind of getting serious and, you know, it was just a really scary time and I was like, look, we’ve obviously started this petition, but I don’t know if it’s the right time to push it. Because I’m pregnant and then COVID seems like it’s getting a bit serious, so why don’t we just leave it for a couple of weeks. Let me have the baby and then we’ll kind of decide what we’re going to do with it but at least we’ve got the petition because at the time, petitions were closed, because there was you know, something something to do with the government had changed so petitions were closed for a while, but we were just like, let’s get in there, get our petition, and then we’ll revisit it in a couple of weeks time. I had my baby, then it was lockdown and it was just a really weird, strange time. Then George Floyd got murdered. And I guess it was just such a strange time because it was like, it was almost like the world had, like woken up and realised that black people were here. And they face these really serious issues. And people are looking for things to support. And our petition got picked up. I didn’t even realise. I remember I looked on it and it said, oh, you know, I’ve got like, 10 signatures. Oh my god. 10. Then I looked like 10 minutes late. Oh, 100 Oh my god, there’s 1000 signatures on this now. Right? Right. Okay, we’ve got to do something right. campaign video, like literally I WhatsApp everybody on my contact list. ‘help me with this video. We’ve got to do something. I need people to know that this, this this campaign that’s kind of going viral is ours.’ So we did a campaign video and then we pushed it on our platform. And by the end of the week, we’d reached 100,000 signatures. [Wow.] And yeah. It was, it was really weird.

Charlotte Speak  14:43

I didn’t realise how quickly that it had, well, yeah. Quickly, but also a lot of work got into it obviously.

Speaker 1  14:49

So we had pushed it by the end of the week, we were like, because we just wanted to get to 10,000 because we were like oh, okay. At least at 10,000 we’d get a response back. We’d got, we’d smashed it, literally 100,000 signatures by the end of the week. And we were like, alright, cool. This means they’re potentially going to debate this in Parliament. How big is that? And yeah, I guess with five times more, I guess the rest is kind of history. It was that it was from the, from the petition that went viral that like kind of propelled us into the forefront of this discussion. But it’s really, you know, I say it’s really bittersweet because we existed before, the whole Black Lives Matter movement. And don’t get me wrong, obviously, because of what we do outside of five times more there was a lot of interest. There was a lot of interest there. People were reposting people doing our five times more selfie, that’s how we started. So again, it’s the whole social media kind of getting people involved, getting people talking about it. So yeah, we’ve had five times selfie that was doing really well, but yeah, after after, you know, the petition and, and the whole Black Lives Matter movement. It was, yeah, that’s kind of that’s kind of been it like, we’ve just been go go go. Myself and Clo are very much about action. Like, yes, first and foremost, we raise awareness, because, you know, we’ve got to highlight something. You can’t change something you don’t know about. So first and foremost, yes, that awareness raising piece is so important to us. But we’re also like, we’ve got to follow it up with action, there has to be tangible things. So even when we did our five times more selfie, it was like, right. I was just so tired of hearing five times more, five times more, five times more, but what’s the follow up? Where’s the action? I was pregnant at the time. So I was like, okay, so how can I stop myself from being five times more likely to die? You know, it was almost like scare mongering, it’s like, well, five times more, we don’t really know why we don’t really have any strategies in place. So we came up with the five recommended steps. And then, you know, that was kind of the first resources, resource that we had. And then we started joining forces with other companies and, you know, to have projects to support black women on the ground. So, you know, with the campaign we take, like a three pronged approach, we’re very big on making sure that black women have the resources to have the advice they need, that they that they’ve got the agency to feel like they can advocate for themselves and we want them to have better birthing experiences. That’s first and foremost, that comes first for us. Then we trained health professionals, and we give talks to like students and that kind of thing, again, raising awareness. But we’ve got, you know, our training now, we train trusts in South East London, we’ve got trusts in Birmingham that we are training as well. So that’s, that’s a very big part of what we do. Because, again, the health professionals, so when we joined forces with RCOG to create the five steps for health professionals, we were like, well, if we’re telling women this, then what are the health professionals doing on their side, to ensure the black women in their care have got better, black women have got better care? When they’re, you know, when they’re taking care of them? So then obviously, as you know, lobbying is the third thing we do so we you know, we’ve now we’ve, we’ve got a black maternal health APPG, which is an all party parliamentary group. So members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, MPs from the House of Lords and commons, come together. Yeah, there’s so much there, we have our MP letter writing campaign, we were just very big on making sure that people in power, listen, and take stock and then change things. So yeah, it’s been very go, go go since 2020. But we’ve made such good headway in this space. And obviously, like you said, you know, the whole channel four documentary, being in vogue, being in The Guardian, and being in all these publications, that’s, that helps, you know, push the fact that this is, this is very real. We’re here, we’re doing the work. There’s been so many people who have been raising, raising this since way before we did. It was just, it was just important for us to make sure that we take it kind of all the way, if that makes sense. We’ve gotta, gotta to take all the, right, the world’s listening, for whatever reason, you know, let’s make sure that this, this is not something that just is here today and gone tomorrow, because we’ve got personal experiences with it. It’s something that, you know, it’s, we kind of all knew in the black community, but you know, we didn’t necessarily know that it was five times more and yeah, so yes, I guess for us, it’s very personal. And that’s why we’re so passionate. And hopefully the passion comes through. That’s why you see like, I’m everywhere.

Charlotte Speak  19:42

Yeah, it massively is and we need to talk about learning with Ez as well. So I don’t want to like interrupt and divert us too much but I think the, the thing that I think that you and Clo do so beautifully, for want of a better word I don’t, I don’t know if there’s like a better word to use there. But this, the way that you campaign and the way that you talk about it, my personal experience in being on the receiving end of your communication, is that you don’t make this. So obviously, the narrative is, and it is happening to black mothers. But the way that you are taking this forward is to create that call to action for every single person ever. That this isn’t it, this isn’t for black mothers to solve. It’s, it’s for everybody, like everybody should be kept, everybody should be bothered about this, because we’re saying that this is preventable, we’re saying that this is just, well, systemic racism in a lot of instances. And, and that we all need to play a part in something that is incredibly complex, incredibly emotive, quite rightly, but also, with the right, facing into it with the right action, could, might, could save literally save lives. And there’s a part that every single person can play. And I think that’s, that is what I love about the way that you that you talk and your resources and your your approach. It’s not, it’s never about right, we’re gonna, we’re gonna try and fix black mothers, and we’re going to try and make them be able to be different in labour. It’s not about that, like, that’s the last thing that we need to be doing. It’s, it’s like, that’s not even on the list that we need to be it’s it’s, uh, the environment around them that’s, that’s causing this. So I think I think that’s really powerful. The way that you, I realise you didn’t ask my feedback that I just wanted to say it, because when you that’s the thing that I, you know, I’ve gotten to know you over the last couple of months and I think one of the things that is, you’re so grateful for other people’s support and what they bring, but a lot of this is there because of you and of Clo, where five times more is concerned. And I think that’s something that really needs to be recognised.

Tinuke Awe  22:08

Thank you, no, that means a lot to hear that feedback. And, you know, sometimes when you’re doing things and you’re like, oh, you know, how’s it gonna? How’s it gonna pander out how are people gonna take it and whatnot, but then hearing some of this feedback, it means the world because it just means that we’re doing it right. We’re definitely doing it right. Because yeah, you’re right, we never want to come across, as you know, particularly blaming black women for, no, it’s not about blaming anyone it’s about this is a problem. This has been this has existed for a very long time, this has existed for decades, this has been going on for a long time, but what are we doing about it? And how can we help be a part of that solution? And we can all help and be a part of our solution in some way, shape, or form. So it’s making sure that, yes, these very negative statistics and what’s going on, it’s not all bad, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had one good and one, one bad experience. It’s not all bad. But you know, those negative experiences, how can we change that into positives? Like, how are we giving the women the resources and the agency to you know, speak up for themselves and advocate for themselves? How are we telling the health professionals, how are we telling the government, you know, like, you know, how are we, how are we changing it? How are we moving forward? We can talk till we’re blue in the face, but what’s the action behind it? What’s tangible? So yeah, means the world and yeah, sorry, to your question about learning with Ez. So yeah, learning with Ez is my baby. I absolutely am so so passionate, I feel like all of these, all of these like ventures, and then these products that I’m working on, are literally birthed out of, you know, really kind of negative experiences that I’ve had. So learning with Ez, so I actually studied psychology, and I’m very, I love children, like child development, Early Years Learning that kind of, always really interested me. And I was this close to being a teacher, I’d literally signed on the dotted line and, you know, signed up to teach first, I was so so excited I was going to quit my job in HR and like, yeah, be a teacher. And I fell pregnant so none of that actually happened. I think all, for a good reason, as well, I probably wouldn’t be here if I was doing that. Who knows. But yeah, I’m very big, I love it. I love learning the way that children learn and play and interact. That stuff has always interested me. So when, when my son was younger, you got to cast your mind back to about four years ago, I was looking for like resources and books and stuff and that looked like him. And I couldn’t find anything. I couldn’t find much. Should I say, not that there wasn’t anything out there but I couldn’t find. There was a few more books, but there weren’t resources. So like flash cards and, you know, things that you would use on a regular basis with Zoom to help aid with your home learning. And I was really frustrated at that. I was frustrated at that for two reasons. Number one, it was, it was, I was angry because I was like, well, why? Why does my son have to look at things that don’t look like him? Like, I would find that, you know, his engagement levels were a little bit lower. And it wasn’t until I became a mum that I was like, Oh, my God, like, this is literally how I grew up, I couldn’t see, there was no representation anywhere. And I was like, I don’t want my son to grow up in this, in that kind of world. So learning with Ez was built, because I wanted him to see himself reflected, but also on the flip side of that, that means that there are, you know, loads of kids who are not white, that are not seeing what the world looks like, then it’s not being reflected to them, you know? So I was like, right, let’s, let’s, let’s do this, let’s, let’s actually build this brand. So for the longest time with mums and tea, I was, you know, on social media be like doing, like home activities and things you can do with your baby and whatnot. And it was really, really fun. And learning with Ez was kind of unofficial. But in, in the pandemic, I was like, I want to make this official. I’ve gotten some illustrations done like, like a year prior. And I was like, okay, I think, I think it’s time to take this, you know, I don’t actually want to go back to work, I’m really happy being in this space, with five times more things going, you know, okay, and I just wanted to be at home with my with my little one. So I launched learning with Ez, and yeah, that’s diverse educational resources, to help parents with home learning, but because representation matters, that’s our tagline. Because representation matters. It matters for all, it matters for my child, it matters for your child, it literally matters for all children. And so yeah, like, I’m really passionate about it really, really passionate about it. My son has got a diagnosis of autism and that was last year in June. I’d quit my job after I found out because I’d literally I couldn’t deal with the back and forth appointments and, you know, I was working full time, at the time and I was just like, this is just too much. It’s really overwhelming. And I need to be there for my son. It wasn’t an easy decision because of finances. But I just felt like I’m gonna, I want to put my all into my family first. But there are so many other things I’m doing with mums and tea, learning with Ez and Five Times More, that really do call for my attention. So I did it. I did it. I quit like last year in August. And yeah, that’s where we are now I’ve been like, you know, fully kind of self employed since then. Trying to juggle it all and figure out how to, how to run a business and how to make sure that it’s all sustainable and that. But yeah, that’s that’s kind of the journey with all three ventures. And like I said, I feel like becoming a mum has literally changed my life. And it was because of the negative experiences that I had that I was like, no, I don’t like this. I don’t like injustice. This isn’t right, it’s got to change. And that’s, that’s why we are where we are now.

Charlotte Speak  28:36

I mean, wow. It’s, yeah, there aren’t, there aren’t enough, you know, snazzy words to describe really are there, the impact that you’re having and I think the things that always jump out at me when I hear your stories are, well that kind of, the purpose and passion side of things that you. Everything that you do, carries a hell of a lot of that with it. You know, you don’t take anything on lightly, these things are always aligned to your values, I think by the sounds of it. And connection, and kind of, I think that that’s something that kind of came out when you were talking about mums and tea and where that had come from and why and that was about kind of that community connection side of things which can can feel so lonely in parenthood, but that’s obviously connection, I think features in every, in every project that you have, because you’ve then got it with five times more because it’s about connecting and generating a conversation and making sure that you’re kind of galvanising, that community of supporters to make sure that change actually happens and then that connection with learning with Ez is, from a parent to child connection point of view it must, it literally must make the lives of parents so much easier when they are a black parent with a neurodiverse child, because you’re literally giving them a, I don’t know, I’m struggling to think of the word but, you’re giving them this really tangible, but also creating some headspace for them as well aren’t you, because they don’t have to do the thinking they get to just be present. And yeah, I don’t know I said just to be present because being present is a huge deal. But you’re taking away some of the like the, like the thinking side of it that we just often don’t have the capacity to do because we’re tired or we, we don’t have the creative brain that you clearly have. You know, that kind of side of things so it’s like helping, it’s finding things with ease as well, I think and action is the other word that springs to mind when I think of you. And you’ve mentioned a few times that everything needs an action attached to it.

Tinuke Awe  30:54

Yeah, yeah. I’m so big on action. I don’t know just keeps me busy. Yeah, you know what, I think it’s, you know what, I think I get this from my mum. My mum has got such a big heart. She’s got such a big heart for people. And I’ve, she’s a single parent. She raised three of us on her own. And I watched her, you know, hustle, give up her life at some points, give up her job to look after us and just do so many things. She’s a go getter. Anything she wants to do, she does. And I think a lot of where my personality comes from is definitely from from her. She’s my hero. She’s my inspiration. Although she really annoys me sometimes, because she you know what? She was like, Oh, what are you giving me grandchildren? And then they come and then you’re too busy to look after them. So you know, we do butt heads a little bit. So like you wanted these kids and now you’re not like looking after them. But…

Charlotte Speak  31:57

I’m over here looking after your grandchildren mother…

Tinuke Awe  32:01

Yeah, no, you’re supposed to be my free babysitting what’s going on? Yeah, she’s she’s a go getter. She’s brilliant. And I think yeah, I owe a lot of my personality down to her and just watching her do amazing things over the years. I mean, she raised me so.

Charlotte Speak  32:21

She’s doing pretty well. She’s just a really, really, really well. So you’ve got, there’s an awful lot going on. There’s still so much work to do behind the scenes with all of those businesses isn’t there. I know you’ve just been, you’ve just been at a baby show, haven’t you with learning with Ez. Can I just compliment you straightaway on how seamlessly you matched the colour tone of your outfit to the balloons that you had on your stand. Because it was like Hello, this girl is on brand. Yeah, I had a lot of time for that. I was. Yeah, I was fully fully invested in watching the outfits just as much as I was, everything else is really, really important but sometimes, you’ve just got to compliment the outfit too.

Tinuke Awe 33:13

Yeah, you’ve got to be on brand. I think my brand is very strong with the colours it’s yellow. Like a mustardy, like earthy type yellow, and brown. So yeah, if I, if I was wearing blue, it’s just, it wouldn’t it wouldn’t make sense. So yeah, I’ve gotta, gotta make sure I match the brand. And you know, I feel like when I’m, so Clo came to help me a few days. And she was, yeah. She was wearing the yellow. And so when we was going around people was like, oh, we didn’t get the memo. It’s like, yeah, come check us out.

Charlotte Speak  33:51

That is some strong branding. [Yeah.] And there’s, there’s a lot going on for you with five times more and that’s recently attracted the very public attention and support of Mo Gilligan. And it also, I don’t know if you’ve listened to the episode yet, but Rochelle Humes was interviewed by Steven Bartlett on the diary of a CEO and she gave you a shout out on there as well because obviously she fronted the dispatchers programme didn’t she. So it’s, it’s kind of gathering even more, even more conversation in different, in different formats as well. What does it look like for you for the next kind of few months and weeks, when it comes to five times more?

Tinuke Awe  34:42

Well, we do have our month of advocacy. So every year within the campaign, we’ve got two very big months of things happening to again, keep that conversation going. Keep raising awareness, keep adding resources and partners and just doing the most. So every April, well, since last year, so the first ever, you know, the when it was debated in parliament for the first time was in April. So around that we had, you know, our April advocacy month. And so we want to continue that on. So every April is a month of advocacy. This year, we will be having our first black maternal health all party parliamentary group meeting, as well as launching the results from our survey. So yeah, it’s going to be like a month just full of just a lot, which I’m excited about, you know, we have, we let people know, you know, about their rights, what they’re entitled to, we let, we joined forces with other amazing charities and organisations out there to create more resources. Yeah, we’re at, you know, you know, obviously, I don’t need to say action, but action. And then yeah, September is normally our annual Awareness Week. So we’re the creators of the UK’s first black Maternal Health Awareness Week. Again, it’s very, very much centred on black women and birthing people’s experiences, and how to make it better, highlighting some of the issues. But also, you know, speaking to health professionals, and yeah, just it’s a, it’s a way to raise awareness and make sure that more black people, more black women know about us and are aware of what we offer as well. So, yeah, there’s always a lot going on. So it’s every every six months, we kind of raise, raise it up again and we’re going. So yeah, it’s April and September. But yeah, I think I think for me, definitely what I’m really looking forward to is the report. So last year, we launched the black maternal experience survey. And there was a call out for anyone who had given birth in the last five years, it’s a huge, really lengthy survey, to find out about, you know, what their experiences were, like, given birth in the NHS. And, yeah, when we launched, because, at the time, even, you know, even in our debate, the Minister for, gosh, patient safety, I believe, Nadine Dorries. Yeah, she was, she had an experience survey at the time. And she was like, you know, regrettably, you know, we don’t have data from like, women, they’re not filling out the survey, if you can help us, that’d be great. And we were like, no, we’re gonna do our own. We’re gonna do our own, we’re gonna do our own. So we launched our survey, and then, you know, within 24 hours, we got over 500 responses. 500 women filled out that survey, and I was like, and you can’t find black women. But it’s important for me, because well, it’s important for us, because we have an a, an all black led panel, our expert panel is all black, black health professionals, black organisations. And one of the key asks for the campaign is that, listen, if you’re trying to do anything about black women, they should not be left out of the conversation. They should be involved at every level when it comes to decision making. That’s a no brainer, right. So yeah, I think that was for us, that was quite powerful. Because, you know, this is one of our key messages for us to you know, you know, by the end of the survey, 1,300 people has had, you know, filled out that that survey. So we’ve got a lot of data there, a lot of data, you know, and it’s I would say it’s new data. Because nothing’s ever been done like this before in the UK. So yeah, really excited for some of that to come. We’re going to have our recommendations, we’re going to be doing an event with the RCOG, we’re going to be you know, we’re going to be doing quite a lot in that space. But first and foremost, it’s, it’s a black maternal experience survey. So we are centering black women and birthing people’s experiences, which is something we’ve always been big about. So you can’t like with, with the campaign, one of our sort of slogans is there are real people behind these statistics. When you often hear five times more, x times more, this times more do you, it can, that human element can often get lost. And the voices and the experiences can often get lost. So this is actually just a way to help amplify those voices. And actually, what we what we do know, you know, what a statistic is that, I think it’s for every one person that unfortunately passes away there’s about 100 more behind them that are suffering from you know, near misses, so morbidity and illnesses and you know, all the negative things, but that’s not, that’s not said it’s not spoken about, it’s not documented anywhere accurately. So we really want to be the ones to bring that to the forefront.

Charlotte Speak  40:11

It’s amazing that the engagement and the like, that that’s a huge amount of people, well, whatever the number that you’ve got through, for me, when I, when I hear that, and I haven’t seen the survey, or like, or know what the questions are, but I’m gonna make an assumption that being in a position where you need to fill in that survey is going to lead you to need to relive a level of trauma, or experience that you, you don’t share lightly. And I think that like we need to just, we need to take a minute and hold some space for that, all these, you know, all these people that are going to be discussing and debating it, because to your point, we talk stats, but they are people sat behind those numbers, that’s a huge deal for anybody that has experienced trauma or birthing trauma, to say, actually, this is my story, or this is what I experienced. Because to get to that stage, you’ve often had to go through probably being gaslit, probably being completely, you know, rubbished in terms of things being questioned and your experience and you’ve got to then kind of go, you’ve got to go back and relive some of that. That’s, that’s huge. And, you know, no, no wonder that some people can’t get some of the engagement, to actually for people to share those stories and experiences. But you can, because you come at this from a really authentic place and position and you’ve got the like, we’re going to, we’re going to take care of you and we’re going to take care of your stories, and we’re going to do something with it. And that’s the difference, isn’t it? I think that that’s certainly how it comes across as somebody watching you. Not in a weird way!

Tinuke Awe  42:00

Massively, no, honestly, everything you have just said is literally when we sit on these calls, you know, we speak to people that are quite senior, high up and they’re like, how did you do it, and we’re like, everything you’ve just said is what we say, well, we’ve got the trust, we’ve got, we literally have the trust of these black women, because they know we’re not going to, we’re not just going to take their data and just do nothing with it. Like we’re not going to do a report and it’s gonna sit on the shelf somewhere and you don’t hear about it anymore. We’re not just going to, you know, like, ask them for their experiences and ask them to share things that are so personal that they probably haven’t shared or wanted to relive, just for no reason. [Yeah] and I think they know that and, and we’re so honoured. You know, when when we when we reel off these statistics, it’s not to boast, it’s to say that people actually trust us people actually believe in us enough to give us, to trust us with their information. And we will we have to take it all the way to the top. We have to absolutely. So yeah, like it’s definitely, we’re definitely in a position of, of privilege. And we feel very, very honoured for where we are and, and the fact that what we do outside of five times more, I think that really helps as well, because a lot of the women that we support, a lot of women we talk to, a lot of the women that have come to our events or have heard about us, they know that this isn’t a game, this is not like I said, here today, gone tomorrow. We are very, very passionate about what we do. And that always comes through no matter what. And yeah, we’re just yeah. Yeah, all the things you said, basically…

Charlotte Speak  43:40

Thank you so much for sharing, about everything that you’ve got going, well, I know it’s not everything that you got going on. But the big things that you have got going on that need to be shared so much more with the world. I think you’re doing an absolutely amazing job. And I don’t know Clo, but I know that you, the two of you are a powerhouse together with all of the things that you’re putting into, into motion and making some real lasting change. So before we kind of head off, where can people come and find you on social media or kind of online if they want to come and engage with some of your work and importantly, support your work as well. Where’s best to find you?

Tinuke Awe  44:25

Amazing. So I think the best place to start would probably be mums and tea so on Instagram. That’s M U M S A N D T E A so actually, it’s a funny story behind that name. Mums and he’s actually got like a, like a three, not dual meaning a, triple, triple meaning there we go. That’s the word I’m looking for. So obviously it’s Mums and Tea because before like we’d used to like literally, I love tea, it is like the best drink in the whole world, get together like drink tea and like you know, have a real mother’s meeting. And then obviously it’s Mums and T because T for Tinuke. Yeah, and then it’s Mums and Tea as in oh, what’s the tea, like what’s going on? Like what is going on out in the world? So yeah, that. Follow me on Mums and Tea, follow us @fivexmore on Instagram and on Twitter. And then you also have learning with Ez as well. But all those links are on my Mums and Tea page so you can easily follow from there.

Charlotte Speak  45:28

Amazing. And I will put them in the show notes as well. So if you are listening, you can just go and have a click into those and you will be able to go and find all of those different platforms straightaway. Thank you so much for joining me and sharing your story so far, I think we probably needed, it needs to be a two parter and we’ll get you back in, in a few months time and check in on where all of this stuff has gone. But thank you for sharing so generously and it’s been fab to chat.

Tinuke Awe  45:58

Thank you for having me. It’s been brilliant.

Charlotte Speak  46:02

Thanks very much for tuning in to Power of the Parent, The Podcast. I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, please rate, review and subscribe. And if you could tell all your friends about the podcast that would be wonderful. If you’d like to get in touch you can find me on Instagram. Just search Power of the Parent. See you next time.

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