Black and Minority Ethnic (BME)
Voluntary and Community Sector Voice
and Influence – ‘Very Small, Very Quiet,
a Whisper’

...
Research Outline
• The research aimed to identify the voice and
influence of the BME Community and
Voluntary Sector in rel...
Research Methodology
• Literature Review
• 14 semi-structured interviews with BME led
community groups in Birmingham, Grea...
Timescales
• The project was set up in November 2011
• Interviews were undertaken from March to
November 2012
• A TSRC Wor...
Findings 1
• Issues influenced included Equalities, Service provision, and
specific campaigns e.g. anti-deportation and si...
Findings 2
• The current climate is affecting different parts of the Sector in
different ways “..completely leaving commun...
Findings 3
• There is an identifiable BME Voluntary and
Community Sector (VCS)
• Range of views within the Sector
• Issue ...
Findings 4 - Resilience
• Small organisations – not state funded and
therefore are surviving
• Campaigns – many participan...
Challenges and Questions
• Has the Single Equalities Act diluted voice and influence?
• Are more established/white organis...
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BME Groups Voice and Influence, Phil Ware

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Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Voluntary and Community Sector Voice and Influence - 'Very Small, Very Quiet, A Whisper'
Presentation by Phil Ware, TSRC Research Fellow.
First given June 2013, updated to this version January 2014.

Published in: News & Politics, Spiritual
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BME Groups Voice and Influence, Phil Ware

  1. 1. Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Voluntary and Community Sector Voice and Influence – ‘Very Small, Very Quiet, a Whisper’ Funded by: Hosted by: Phil Ware Honorary Research Fellow TSRC
  2. 2. Research Outline • The research aimed to identify the voice and influence of the BME Community and Voluntary Sector in relation to: • a) The community and voluntary sector as a whole • b) Local, regional and national policy makers and funders • c) Mainstream provision
  3. 3. Research Methodology • Literature Review • 14 semi-structured interviews with BME led community groups in Birmingham, Greater Manchester and London • 7 semi-structured interviews with strategic voluntary and statutory organisations. • Focus Groups in Greater Manchester and Birmingham – 35 participants in total.
  4. 4. Timescales • The project was set up in November 2011 • Interviews were undertaken from March to November 2012 • A TSRC Working Paper and Briefing Paper have been completed. • Findings of the project have been disseminated through TSRC networks, BME networks and participants.
  5. 5. Findings 1 • Issues influenced included Equalities, Service provision, and specific campaigns e.g. anti-deportation and single cause. The range of strategies being used: – 1. Capacity building and Partnership working 2. Political approaches - resisting takeover of agenda by large national organisations. “race...never on their agenda”. 3. Demonstrating needs • The uncertain position of the BME VCS within the wider VCS. “The voluntary sector is not immune from racism, so has ways of marginalising certain voices...”
  6. 6. Findings 2 • The current climate is affecting different parts of the Sector in different ways “..completely leaving communities like ours [Refugees and Asylum-seekers] out in the cold because... we’re not local.” • Collective v Internal approaches • Some organisations less affected by funding issues. • The impact of the Equalities Act 2010. “Race , Gender, Disability... all need to be addressed in [their own] way.” • Successes – message of persistence e.g. Lawrence. Southall Black Sisters. Smaller groups reliant on own income. “The very smallest groups... actually might be in better place .”
  7. 7. Findings 3 • There is an identifiable BME Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) • Range of views within the Sector • Issue of leadership (lack of) • Lack of voice and influence beyond individual and community levels • Many participants challenged by a lack of resources and political antipathy
  8. 8. Findings 4 - Resilience • Small organisations – not state funded and therefore are surviving • Campaigns – many participants could point to examples of small campaign successes • Increased diversity; increased ways of working • Dependency on volunteering and own resources – is it sustainable?
  9. 9. Challenges and Questions • Has the Single Equalities Act diluted voice and influence? • Are more established/white organisations claiming voice on behalf of BME VCS? How are gender issues impacting? • Is there a BME VCS sector? “..the BME sector is diverse, there is a lack of politicisation.” • Have BME organisations been distracted by agendas such as Community Cohesion and Preventing Violent Extremism? “We set out to meet the need not follow the money”. • Have BME groups been disproportionately affected by cuts? “disparity between [the white VCS] and the way funding is dispensed to the BME sector.”

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