Black and minority ethnic (BME) representative body Voice4Change has this week spoken out against government plans to pull the plug on funding for regional BME support networks in March 2009.
According to Voice4Change, government plans to withdraw funding worth £540,000 from BME networks in nine English regions could spell disaster for BME voluntary and community groups and the BME third sector as a whole. Without BME regional networks, the government is likely to lose touch with up to 15,000 BME voluntary organisations. Without network support, these already under-resourced organisations are unlikely to be unable to manage themselves at a strategic level or speak on matters such as policy and public opinion. They are also unlikely to be able to access the best and most useful funding streams.
Undoubtedly, this fatal blow to regional BME networks could kick-start a downward spiral: BME voluntary and community organisations will no longer be able to provide services to, or act as the voice of, BME communities throughout England and, if that is the case, the government, out of touch with this portion of the third sector, will be unable to develop coherent inclusion and equality policies.
Source: Third Sector