Black & Minority Ethnic Groups
Devon and Cornwall represent the largest sub region in the South West. There are significant concentrations of Black and Minority Ethnic (B&ME) residents and organisations in urban conurbations within New Deal and Neighbourhood Renewal areas. The largest B&ME population is in Plymouth (1.64% Census 2001) where there is a growing refugee community.
The sub region has also historically suffered from having no specialist B&ME infrastructure in place and as a consequence of this, the B&ME Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) is fragile and weak (A B&ME VCS organisation is defined as an organisation in which at least 80% of its Management Committee/Board of Trustees are of Black and Minority Ethnic origin), and remains unsupported. Much of the delivery of work from the B&ME VCS is carried out on a voluntary basis with organisations working from home and supporting these organisations very often through their own pockets.
To further exacerbate the problem, there has been little if any mapping and research carried out on a local basis which identifies the needs and concerns of the many dispersed and isolated B&ME communities. There are, and have been a number of specialist organisations such as local Race Equality Council’s (REC’s) who have delivered support to B&ME communities across the sub region but the main problems have been identified as, lack of consistency in service provision, poor accessibility and a lack of understanding and strategic focus in terms of developing sustainable solutions to meet the needs of B&ME communities. The delivery of support to B&ME communities by non-B&ME organisations further raises conflict in terms of allocated funding which more than often leaves unsupported local B&ME led groups to compete on an already un-even level playing field (there are only two B&ME led organisations in the sub region that have been identified as receiving over £10,000 of public funds per year) due to their lack of capacity, support and financial management systems. However, non-B&ME organisations do have an important role to play where there are no B&ME led organisations.