Blogs

3 interesting things you might not know that we learnt about Parliament

By Samantha Reeve, policy officer of Voice4Change England (V4CE)

Centre: Samantha Reeve with Policy and Parliamentary training attendees
 
In July we held two Parliamentary training sessions, one in London and the other in Birmingham. As part of our Strengthening Voices Project we invited BME organisations interested in learning about how Parliament works and how they can influence policy. The sessions were organised in partnership with the Parliamentary Outreach Service. 

'It is time to accept that identity in the 21st century is more fluid than it ever has been'

By Kunle Olulode, chief executive of Voice4Change England (V4CE)

Back in 1990 in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, then senior minister Norman Tebbit questioned the loyalties of Asian immigrants to the UK, using the example of cricket. Tebbit's "Cricket Test" was thus born. His provocative suggestion was clear, that the side ethnic minorities cheer for – England or their country of origin – should be a barometer of whether they are truly British..
 

Is the government serious about reviewing stop and search?

By Dan Silver, director of the Social Action & Research Foundation

The government is undertaking a six-week public consultation in England and Wales on the use of controversial "stop and search" powers, as the Home Secretary Theresa May has said it was "time to get stop and search right".
 

Can the BME/Muslim VCS sector afford to stay silent in the face of racialisation of grooming & child sexual exploitation?

By Saqib Deshmukh, V4CE Development Officer

Over the last year the dominating narrative to do with child sexual exploitation has centred on Pakistani/Muslim communities. The cases in Rochdale, Oxford and other areas have caught the public eye and despite there being clear differences in these cases have created a set of racially driven stereotypes that have not been helpful to our communities and in many cases have been downright dangerous.
 

A brief history of BME organisations in the UK

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.
 

How one organisation is overcoming their challenges through social enterprise

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. 
 

Working partnerships are key during these challenging times

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).

Membership Spotlight: Black and Ethnic Minority Arts Network (BEMA)

 

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.

Questioning Welfare Reform

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Questioning Welfare Reform
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Carolina of Latin American Women's Rights Service argues that the government's welfare reforms are putting more pressure on many vulnerable communities
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Carolina Gottardo, Director of Latin American Women's Rights Service
 
I recently attended an interesting conference about the Advice sector in London, which included the participation of a representative from the Cabinet Office.
 

Equality and justice? Only if you can afford them

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Equality and justice?
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With cuts to legal advice services, justice and equality are denied to those who can't afford them, argues Shantele from Cheshire, Halton and Warrington Race Equality Centre.
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With cuts to legal advice services, justice and equality are denied to those who can't afford them, argues Shantele from Cheshire, Halton and Warrington Race Equality Centre. 

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