Suffolk: Axed chief in rallying cry for equality group

The axed chief executive of a leading equality charity has made a rallying cry to help secure its future.

Jane Basham is one of ten staff made redundant at Ipswich & Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) amid a funding crisis at the charity.

The council, which works across Suffolk to combat discrimination and promote community cohesion, is cutting its workforce from 15 to five.

Ms Basham said the drastic action was taken after a �61,000 grant from the Government Equality Office was stopped.

She added: “There’s an incredible legacy of the amazing work we have done and the purpose of this restructure is to get back to basics and continue that legacy.

“This is about saving the organisation and being able to deliver services to those who need them the most.

“I’m making people redundant and many of them I work with are black or minority ethnic background who statistically are less likely to get a job in these hard economic times.

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“Yes it’s sad but the organisation will continue and we’ll fight for its future – this is a rallying cry.”

The charity has set up a fundraising drive – to raise �50,000-a-year for the next three years – to help secure its future.

Shirley Barrett, regional manager of One Voice 4 Travellers, said: “Essex has no race equality council and now Suffolk’s is at risk.

“Through the work and commitment of the team at ISCRE we have only just got people to build up a voice.

“ISCRE have been a microphone for people from the gypsy and traveller community and that microphone has now been turned off – it will take us years to build up this voice again.”

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said: “I’m sad about Jane and those members of her team who are leaving.

“I know from working with Jane that she is absolutely passionate about the cause of equality.

“She’s never been afraid to speak loudly for those who don’t have a voice.

“I sincerely hope in the restructure that the most important work of ISCRE - it’s legal defence work - can continue.”