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BBC Learning want to hear from people based in places alongside the Manchester Ship Canal shimAdd News491 to Scrapbook











'Rise' in ethnic minority young offenders in custody shimAdd News490 to Scrapbook

The number of young male offenders from ethnic minorities in custody in England and Wales has risen, a report suggests.

Figures produced jointly by the chief inspector of prisons and the Youth Justice Board showed there were 1,822 young offenders in custody in 2010/11.

Of these, ethnic males formed 39% of those held - up from 33% in 2009/10.

Nick Hardwick, the chief inspector of prisons, says the report also highlights "some deterioration" in young people's experience of custody.

The annual review suggested the overall figure of young offenders held in custody was down from 1,977 in 2009/10.

The inspectors said a "changing profile of the children and young people in custody" was emerging.

"Despite the falling numbers, this population has well-defined vulnerability and increasing numbers within minority groups” Nick Hardwick Chief inspector of prisons

In addition to the rise in the proportion of black and minority ethnic young males, the number of foreign nationals of the same gender increased from 4% to 6%.

The report drew on the experiences of young males aged 15-18 in all nine establishments and 47 young females aged 15-18 in all four establishments in which they were held between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2011.

More than half of the females and a quarter of the males said they had spent time in local authority care and nearly a quarter of the young women already had children of their own.

When asked what would stop them re-offending, the most typical reply from both sexes was having a job.

However, the majority said they did not know who to contact while they were incarcerated when it came to preparing for the jobs market outside.

According to the report, only 63% of young men thought they were treated with respect by staff, down from 69% the previous year and an average of 76% between 2004 and 2008.

And just 67% said they were treated well or very well in the reception of the young offenders institution, down from 72% the previous year.

Mr Hardwick said: "This report has highlighted some deterioration in children and young people's experience of custody.

"Despite the falling numbers, this population has well-defined vulnerability and increasing numbers within minority groups.

"The need, therefore, to provide these young people with support during their time in custody and in preparation for release is as great as ever."

And Frances Done, who chairs the Youth Justice Board, said there was concern that in some areas the experience of youngsters in custody had deteriorated.

She said: "We will be looking closely at the experiences reported by young people and working with all secure establishments to make sure that young people's time in custody has positive results and that everyone working in youth justice is focused on rehabilitating young people to help them achieve a more purposeful life."


Big Lottery Fund announces 50m extra charity and community funding shimAdd News489 to Scrapbook

In tough times such as these, an intelligent funder needs to trust its grant holders to do the right thing, says Peter Wanless, chief executive of the BLF in the Guardian:

I've spent a lot of time recently warning charities and social enterprises of the need to adapt to the new funding environment, that the weakest bid they could possibly make to the Big Lottery Fund these days is one asserting that because something has been successful in the past, it will automatically succeed in the future.

In response I've been told that it's all very well my pointing out that things are changing. People can see that for themselves, thank you very much. But it's quite another thing to adjust strategy on the hoof, especially when you are inundated with demand for essential services and other funding cuts have hollowed out whatever time, headspace or unrestricted funding you might have had with which to map a coherent way forward.

It's not that people necessarily lack ideas – it's time and money (stupid!) that they need. Given breathing space, some of our grant holders would seek expert external help; some would take time out to brainstorm options and overhaul their business plan; some would want to connect up with others; some would favour an orderly closure. But without that space, we are warned, far too many good BIG-funded projects will arrive at the end of their grant, ill-prepared for whatever comes next. That's bad news for them. It's bad news for the legacy of our investment. Most importantly, it's bad news for the people and communities who rely on their services.

In tough times such as these, an intelligent funder needs to trust its grant holders to do the right thing. Charities are calling for cash now to help address the fundamentals of their business, not a complicated application form to justify additional expenditure on a specific project or an opportunity to bid for a brand new venture.

That's why the Big Lottery Fund is announcing today at least £50 million of extra good cause cash across England, all of which we will award before the end of the financial year, to provide immediate relief, much of it with (almost) no questions asked.

There are far too many organisations offering essential services – often preventative ones - for whom things could get worse before they get better, by which time a whole load more problems will have materialised.

If BIG is serious about helping and sustaining a healthy, functioning voluntary and community sector delivering services to communities and people most in need, then business as usual from the Big Lottery Fund simply isn't going to be good enough.

So, with this funding, we are responding in three ways:

Firstly, we are going to offer cash to 1,000 Big Lottery Fund grant holders across England who have a grant coming to an end within the next 18 months. We won't attach strings, we will simply encourage them to use this money and time to consider how best to sustain and secure the impact of their work - whether that be developing a more effective operating model, partnership working, or finding more efficient ways to deliver activities - and let us know what they've done.

Secondly, for organisations coming to the end of their funding with us who are having a particularly significant impact and have a demonstrable track record of achievement, we will offer an extra year's worth of funding. This will ensure they are not simply wiped out due to financial pressures and can carry on their good work, spreading their learning or even scaling their endeavours.

Finally, we have put some extra money into the Reaching Communities and Awards for All programme pots, enabling us to support hundreds more of the really strong proposals for funding we have received recently. The funding has been and will be awarded to around 650 additional projects from debt advice to family support services.

While I am very proud of this funding package, I am under no illusion that it provides all the answers. There is no doubt that the 12 months ahead will bring testing times for the sector as the full impact of the public funding cuts come to fruition and demand continues to increase. £50m, while a significant amount of money, can only go so far in this context.

However, what it will provide for hundreds of community and charitable projects is that vital time out, that much-needed breathing space to come together, assess, and plan. It will improve the likelihood that good projects will adapt to survive and continue the amazing work they do – over the next few months and hopefully well beyond.

Peter Wanless is the chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund



What can Europe do for you? Unlocking effective EU resources shimAdd News488 to Scrapbook

This event is being held at Europe House, Smith Square, London SW1P on 21 November 2011 from 13:30 to 17:00. This is a free event, organised by NCVO and Euclid, lunch is kindly provided by the European Commission between 1-2pmthe event will give you an opportunity to learn about current European funds and future opportunities for the voluntary and community sector.

Civil society strategic partners come together in dialogue with the Office for Civil Society and the European Commission as well as wider government departments to identify better ways to access European funds. European funds still account for many millions of pounds that reach civil society organisations every year, in tighter economic times it is more important than ever to maximise these.

This event will consider practical lessons learned from the use of European funds in the UK and highlight how civil society can make better use of these in the future, including ESFi, ERDFi and other major European programmes. Speakers include high-level representatives from across the civil society sector and the UK government, including Office for Civil Society Minister, Nick Hurd MP.

The event will consist of two sessions:

  • Session 1: Structural Fundsi:How to maximise the use of European Social Fund,ERDF and Structural Funds at the cross-roads
  • Session 2: Wider European Funds, Linking with Brussels: Progress, Europe for Citizens and Europe Aid, Linking with Brussels and across borders: Opportunities with cultural funds, UK case studies on European funding

This event is an opportunity to understand the key European funds available and is accessible to all civil society organisations interested in applying for European funding and European funding policy.

To book a place in this event please visit: What can Europe do for you? Unlocking effective resources

For further information on this event please contact Network for Europe on 0151 237 3972 or email

LSE to Monitor Inequality and Poverty under the Coalition shimAdd News487 to Scrapbook

LSE researchers are today launching a major new programme of work to report on the impact of the recession, spending changes and the government's social policy reforms on inequality and poverty in the UK.

The Nuffield Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Trust for London have combined to fund the work, which will be carried out by a team of researchers at the LSE's Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE).

CASE has already produced two books on poverty and inequality under the Labour government up to 2007, and its Director Professor John Hills was chair of the National Equality Panel which produced an Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK, reporting mainly on the situation up to 2008.

These studies revealed a complex picture. In some respects, Britain became a more "equal" society under Labour. Child and pensioner poverty fell, educational inequalities were reduced, and the gaps in outcomes between richer and poorer areas narrowed. However, poverty for working age adults without children increased, health inequalities widened, and income gaps between the very top and very bottom of the distribution got larger. Progress in many areas seemed to stall after 2004.

This new work will take place over the period leading up to the next scheduled general election in May 2015 and will look back to the last three years of the Labour government as well as forward.

Among other things, it will provide a comprehensive overview of social policy changes and public spending patterns, their differing impacts on different groups, and how the increase in localism has affected regional ine-qualities and the north/ south divide. It will also document how the overall distributions of income and wealth have been affected by the recession, spending cuts and changing policy.

The research team will examine the Coalition government's record in relation to its own claims to extend equality of opportunity and increase social mobility.

Sharon Witherspoon MBE, Deputy Director of the Nuffield Foundation said "At a time when government departments are facing large cuts in research capacity, we are delighted to be funding LSE to do this work. It will be invaluable in providing robust, independent evidence that can inform policy-making and public debate in the coming years."

Initial reports will start to become available late in 2012 and early in 2013, via CASE's website (

Enquiries should be directed to the programme director Dr Ruth Lupton (020 7849 4910,|)

The influence of parents, places and poverty on educational attitudes and aspirations shimAdd News486 to Scrapbook

What is the relationship between young people's aspirations and how they are formed? Based on longitudinal research in three locations in the UK, this study investigates aspirations and empirical evidence.

There is a high degree of interest among politicians and policymakers in aspirations, driven by two concerns: raising the education and skills of the UK population, and tackling social and economic inequality. High aspirations are often seen as one way to address these concerns, but how aspirations contribute to strong work and educational outcomes is not well understood.

The report:

  • examines the nature of aspirations;
  • explores how parental circumstances and attitudes, school, and opportunity structures come together to shape aspirations in deprived urban areas; and
  • argues that the approach to intervention should be reconsidered.


For the report, please see:

Demos collection on race and conservatism: Are We There Yet shimAdd News485 to Scrapbook

‘Are we there yet?’ is a collection of essays written by progressive conservatives that explores some of central questions around the party’s race agenda. It provides a key insight into whether conservatives really believe that race equality has been achieved or if there is still some way to go. The essays explore the extent to which the complex issues around race in the UK have been addressed and what conservatives would do to resolve them.

Click here for details

Commission on a Bill of Rights: EDF template response shimAdd News484 to Scrapbook

The Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF)has produced a template response to help community  organisations respond to the Commission on a Bill of Rights Discussion Paper asking ‘Do we need a UK Bill of Rights?’

The template describes the work of the Commission, explains why we should respond to the Commission’s discussion paper, and provides some model answers to some of the questions in the Paper.

On 20 October 2011 to accompany publication of the template, Emma Taggart published a blog on the Migrants’ Rights Network website explaining why migrant community organisations should add their voices to the debate and respond to the Commission on a Bill of Rights public consultation.Emma is currently working with EDF to help mobilise equality and social justice NGOs to advocate for human rights and in particular for the Human Rights Act.

The closing date for responding to the Commission on a Bill of Rights Discussion Paper is 11 November 2011.

Click herefor EDF template

Click herefor blog by Emma Taggart on the Migrants’ Rights Network

Click herefor Commission on a Bill of Rights Discussion Paper (pdf)

Click herefor Commission on a Bill of Rights website

Open for All? Equality Research Launched shimAdd News483 to Scrapbook

The North West Infrastructure Partnership commissioned the Centre for Local Economic Strategies and the Centre for Local Policy Studies to research the impact of current policy on equalities and the specialist organisations that deliver to some of our most marginalised communities.

The research process lasted eight months, included 15 issue-specific focus groups, and involved over two hundred and fifty voluntary and community sector organisations from across the North West and looked at:

·The equalities impact of policy agendas around localism, big society, welfare, health, and economic growth;
·The socio-economic implications of a reduced focus on equality;
·The values of equalities focused voluntary and community sector organisations;
·The applicability of impacts and implications to the North West.

This innovative and exciting research provides an evidence base around some of the challenges that current policy brings for our communities and provides a comprehensive report on areas that need improvement moving forward, advocating for the urgent need for a social justice framework.

The executive summary was launched at the recent VSNW Conferenceand the full report will be available shortly.
Dan Silver of One North West blogs for Voice4Change: Is Localism really open to all? shimAdd News482 to Scrapbook

Will under represented communities be left behind by the Localism agenda, asks Dan Silver from One North West?

When asked if he had anything to add to the statement that this government is all about ‘localism, localism, localism’, Andrew Stunell, the race equality minister added: ‘localism’.

There seems to be a political consensus across all political parties around the aim of devolving powers to local areas. So, the fundamental questions we must ask ourselves over the coming years are: is localism open to all? And, how can we ensure the best possible outcomes for our communities?

One North West has been exploring this agenda since the elections last year. In theory, more localised service delivery will suit the Black and Minority Ethnic voluntary and community sector (BME VCS) as a vast range of organisations have been delivering to this ethos for years.

However, there are some major issues that have still not been addressed. The current framing of the localism agenda without consideration for equalities will be detrimental to the BME VCS and could very well lead to disadvantages for the communities we serve.

If more decisions are made locally without any safeguards, there is a real possibility that some communities that have historically been underrepresented and do not have a voice within decision making arenas (or even in terms of setting agendas) will be left out.

Therefore many people within our communities will not receive the public services that they need.

For instance, at a women-only consultation event in Lancashire, women we spoke to were very worried that a domestic violence service for BME women will not be seen as a local priority. This is in an area which there has been a significant BNP presence on the council.

Furthermore, the equality impact assessment process, used so effectively by Southall Black Sisters to challenge Ealing Council’s decision, has been removed as a specific duty of the Equality Act.

The very tools we have previously been able to use are being eroded and not replaced at a time when we need democratic accountability more than ever.

Further concerns exist around the shift away from grant funding and towards larger contracts, which will disproportionately impact on a BME VCS, which is often at a disadvantage in the contracting process. This means that the specialist services that can provide local, tailored solutions will be drowned out in a marketplace that includes huge corporations and large charities. These organisations are often better at writing tenders, but less experienced in delivering to marginalised, or as a friend of mine recently called them, ‘more expensive to reach’, communities.

The definition of community as neighbourhood will exclude many of our communities, especially Gypsy, Roma and Travellers.

This is indicative of a government that does not seem to have equalities considerations at its heart.

One North West have been lobbying around 5 key principles, which provide the beginnings of a social justice framework that is so urgently needed. This includes the need to:

  • Listen, Value and Invest in the BME and BME women’s VCS
  • Consider the most vulnerable communities in all policy decisions
  • Ensure minimum standards of access and outcome
  • Recognise the importance of grants
  • Ensure equitable commissioning.

One North West and partners are developing pilot projects that develop these into practical actions. Furthermore, following discussions at the NW BME Policy Forum, we designed a research project that has been commissioned by the North West Infrastructure Partnership and delivered by the Centre of Local Economic Strategies and the Centre for Local Policy Studies.