Self Help UK

What’s in a name?

11th Apr 2023 | Posted in : Nottinghamshire, Self Help Groups, Self Help UK News, East Midlands News

We discuss how the name of a peer support group can represent our identity

You might ask “What’s in a group name?”

How does the group represent my identity: my health condition, my (dis)ability, my ethnicity, my culture, my religious or spiritual beliefs, my gender, my sexuality, or my age…? This was the topic for discussion at our recent Zoom drop-in session for self-help group leaders and key members. 

The name you choose for your group should be reflective of its members, whilst remaining inclusive – sounds easy, right? The importance of a group name shouldn’t be underestimated, as it will shape how your group is seen and promoted by your community, and ultimately who accesses your group. Researching for your group name may take the form of informal conversations, consultations and surveys; you’ll want to get it right first time to attract members who understand your circumstances, without you having to explain.

Terminology matters… and so do your views. We’ve heard from many groups and members of the public who are strongly opposed to using acronyms such as ‘BAME’ and terms such as ‘minority’ when referring to ethnicity or culture. These terms either box people together into one homogenous group, or somehow create a sense of divide and ‘otherness’ – they can marginalise the already marginalised. Terms such as ‘BAME’ and ‘minority’ are unhelpful and ‘cold’.

We want to create feelings of warmth on our quest to help people feel less alone on their journey! We can all do better. So, as an organisation, our Equality Diversity & Inclusion Panel meet regularly to discuss a whole range of topics to ensure we’re an inclusive charity and employer, culturally competent in our operations and to ensure that we make a conscious effort to celebrate both our differences and our shared experiences through peer support. You may have noticed that after informal consultations with several groups, we’ve made the commitment to avoid using ‘BAME’ and ‘minority’ where possible. We’ve settled on using ‘multicultural and diverse’ for now, but we are actively seeking your feedback on how we refer to our communities going forward.

Join our upcoming drop-in sessions to share your views and experiences in a safe space – regardless of ethnicity, gender, health condition or other characteristic – we promise to treat your opinions with respect and ask that all members of the forum are polite and courteous as we listen to each other to gain a better understanding of what makes us… us!

If you’d rather, you can send an email to with your views on preferred terminology and how we can work to better meet the needs of our groups and their members. We will not publicly share your views without your expressed consent.

Don’t call me BAME

Dropping the BAME acronym

UK broadcasters avoid using BAME acronym

Government equality hub blog