Sheffield student sells books to raise money for black mental health charity

A 21-year-old student from Sheffield has created a socially-distanced community book sale to raise funds for a black mental health charity.

Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 4:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 4:25 pm

Mental health advocate and national advisor at the Royal College of Psychiatrists Lara Ferguson, has started a book sale on Lydgate Lane, Crookes to generate money for black mental health charity, Black Minds Matter.

The 21-year-old psychology student who studies at the University of Bath, has sold over 100 books and raised over £50 for the organisation which funds therapy courses for black people with mental health problems.

Lara explained that she came up with the idea after she felt there was a lack of awareness about how difficult it can be for black people to access mental health services.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Lara Ferguson, from Crookes, has sold over 100 books to fundraise for Black Minds Matter.

“I was speaking to people they had absolutely no idea about health inequalities or the in access to services that black people face”, she said.

"I was trying to think of ways that I could raise more money but also start conversations with people and I thought books are a great idea - everyone loves them and libraries are shut currently.

"It's a great way to get people reading during the pandemic but also raising money and awareness.”

More than 300 books have now been donated by members of the community to the book sale.

The mental health advocate said she had experienced opposition from some people, arguing she should be raising money for ‘all people’.

Lara added: "I think at first it was quite negative, people were affronted that I was raising money for black lives as opposed to all lives.

"I had to really start conversations about how black people face increased difficulties in accessing mental health care.

"It's not denying the fact that everybody struggles to access NHS services, it's saying that black people struggle specifically because of their race - that's something we need to challenge.

"There's also lots of people saying 'all lives matter' which is a classic rhetoric so I had to explain that while yes, all lives do matter but right now, it's black minds specifically that matter.

"Slowly more and more support is being gathered, I've had lots of lovely messages and people offering to donate.”