By Nicole Truesdell, PhD

BME organisations, in some shape of form, have been a part of the UK landscape since the eighteenth century (if not earlier). These organisations grew in size post World War II as the number of BME communities in the UK increased in response to British needed of labour to help rebuild the war-torn country. Through the 1948 British Nationality Act the government actively recruited individuals from the former colonies to assist in this rebuilding. Many stayed in the country and brought over their families, creating new pockets of BME communities throughout the country.

By Iqbal Husain, Director of Shared Heritage

Shared Heritage was set up in 2004 with a vision for using the arts as a catalyst for creating shared spaces in which people could meet. We currently specialise in design and textiles and have gradually developed a programme of work securing small amounts of funding starting with a £2000 grant from the SENSE fund in 2005. This was a local social enterprise fund which was keen to support small projects with a view to them developing trading activities. We designed a felt purse and wallet making project for local community groups that was well received and spurred us on to apply for other funding. 

By Chris Whitwell, CEO of Friends Families and Travellers

As an organisation which continues to fight for fairness and equality on behalf of Gypsies and Travellers we know first hand how important it is to work collaboratively with other organisations.

A main concern for Gypsies and Travellers is the shortage of appropriate accommodation, and to put some context to this, we don't know exactly how many Gypsies and Travellers there are in the UK because before 2011 they were not included in census statistics. However, it is estimated that there are between 200,000 and 300,000 Gypsies and Travellers in the UK (excluding newly arrived Roma from other parts of Europe).


Every month we feature one of our members and ask them what their organisation is about and what they’ve been up to. This month we caught up with  BEMA and spoke to them about their work.


What are the aims of your organisation?

BEMA is an informal alliance of individual artists, arts organisations, promoters, producers and others with an interest in improving availability of quality art to the public, as well as developing cultural activity as a means of promoting tolerance, equality and education.

by Samantha Reeve, Policy Officer, Voice4Change England

Almost a year has passed since the Olympic games. Nearly a whole year since Jess Ennis, Mo Farrah,  and Laura Trott won Gold Medals. But perhaps most importantly, this.


Not just a woman armed with a loudhailer - there is no denying that the 70,000 volunteers turning out to make the games happen, many of whom from BME backgrounds were the ‘Games Makers’ at the heart of the Olympic’s success.