Cash boost for race relations
A PIONEERING new project aimed at improving race relations is to be piloted in Ipswich, it can be revealed today.Around £1million in European cash will go towards the scheme, being trialled in ten European towns, which aims to bring different communities closer together.
A PIONEERING new project aimed at improving race relations is to be piloted in Ipswich, it can be revealed today.
Around £1million in European cash will go towards the scheme, being trialled in ten European towns, which aims to bring different communities closer together.
Richard Howitt, Labour MEP for the Eastern region, said he had worked alongside local groups to secure the EU funding which is to be matched by funding raised locally.
He said: “I'm deeply proud that one of the first of these projects in Europe will be in Ipswich.
“It shows we are responding to people's concerns and European money will be going to promote integration between migrant communities and the local population.”
Mr Howitt said around 80 per cent of recent migrants to the town are Polish, of which approximately half have returned home.
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It also has a various mix of groups of other nationalities including Portuguese, Turkish and Russian nationals but has largely avoided racial tension between different groups and UK nationals.
Mr Howitt said the new project will help migrants integrate within the community and prevent possible race relation issues before they arise.
The project will involve teaching people English and supporting existing agencies in the work they do.
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“It is about helping people to establish networks and bringing people together rather than keeping them apart.
“I think race relations in Ipswich are good.
“In other parts of the region I represent Peterborough where there have been race riots and Luton where one of the London bombers came from.
“I think Ipswich is a diverse community with good race relations but the challenge is to not to wait for problems to arise, but to deal with them now which is why Ipswich has been chosen.”
The Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) welcomed the news.
ISCRE director Jane Basham said: “ISCRE is delighted that funding is available to improve race relations in Ipswich as race discrimination and inequalities continue to exist.
“We have to recognise that Ipswich last year had a significant increase in reported racist incidents - the county as a whole went up by 15per cent. Ipswich Central went from 51 to 99 incidents, Ipswich East went from 45 to 52 and Ipswich West went from 42 to 62.”
“ISCRE would say that in other parts of the country there have been uprisings by some black and minority ethnic people as their only way of challenging injustices and inequalities - this is very different to a riot.”