Race relations watchdog's funding blow

By John HowardA RACE relations watchdog is facing the prospect going under after losing out on a £64,000 grant from the Commission for Racal Equality.

By John Howard

A RACE relations watchdog is facing the prospect going under after losing out on a £64,000 grant from the Commission for Racal Equality.

The commission cut the money it gave to the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) by about 45% this financial year to £26,000.

Now ISCRE has learned that it will receive nothing from the commission in the next financial year, despite seeking £64,000.

Harold Mangar, ISCRE vice-president, said: “I am furious, race equality councils are being killed off by stealth. We will need to reassess our position and how and where we go from here - but we could go under.

“We were set up under the Race Relations Act to advise and assist people with racial discrimination issues and we represent people at tribunals.”

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Hamil Clarke, ISCRE chairman, said this was the worst situation it had been in and feared it could close down within a year unless other funding was found.

He added instead of concentrating on a development plan to take the organisation forward in a pro-active way, it was now just trying to survive.

Albert Grant, a founder member of ISCRE, said: “We do tremendous work helping members of the community, mostly ethnic minority people, who suffer racial abuse.

“It is the number one group for all the ethnic minority groups in the town. If it closes, the ethnic minority community in Suffolk will suffer tremendously. It will be a terrible loss.”

Mr Clarke said the commission had cut its funding because it felt ISCRE was not meeting agreed levels of work.

ISCRE now only has one paid member of staff - the office administrator - and Mr Clarke Mr Mangar, both volunteers, are doing the bulk of its work, with support from other members.

It also receives money from several local authorities and is hoping other organisations can support ISCRE's work.

A Commission for Racal Equality spokesman said: “Where awards have been reduced, organisations gave failed to meet the commission's strict funding criteria.

“The Commission for Racal Equality changed its funding framework in 2003, focusing on outcome-based projects and bringing it more into line with other funding bodies.”


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