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Last Updated: Monday, 2 August, 2004, 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK
Funding crisis for race body
Race equality network headquarters, Penmaenmawr
The network opened its new headquarters last month
A race equality organisation is facing an uncertain future after a funding grant was not renewed.

The North Wales Race Equality Network (NWREN) had received a 30,000 grant from the Welsh Assembly Government to employ a manager for a year.

But the assembly government has said it will not be renewing the grant when it runs out at the end of this month.

The news comes a month after the network opened headquarters at a former police station in Penmaenmawr.

The network is appealing to local authorities in the area and other bodies to help find the shortfall.

It does receive some other funding, but the money is usually ring-fenced for specific projects.

Chair Susheela Lourie said the assembly had not guaranteed the funding would continue, but she had been "assured it could be extended".

There is no support on a multi-cultural basis apart from ourselves
Susheela Lourie

She recommended other organisations should follow the example of Flintshire council, which already gives the network a grant.

Mrs Lourie told the BBC news website: "We are facing a difficult situation.

"We have got a lot of well-meaning volunteers but not somebody who can take the lead responsibility.

"We are the only independent organisation serving north Wales.

"There is no support on a multi-cultural basis apart from ourselves. I don't know how we'll manage," she added.

'Huge documents'

She said the network did not receive any statutory funding and was the only independent organisation serving the whole of north Wales.

She said the assembly government had looked at seconding somebody to work for NWREC but had not been able to find anybody, and received a grant instead to pay a full-time manager.

Now the service is looking to other bodies for help, including the lottery, Communities First and Awards for Wales.

"We're having talks with local authorities because they have a statutory duty (to promote racial equality) and they want our help," Mrs Lourie said.

"They send us huge documents to read and be consulted on but they don't seem to fund us at all, apart from Flintshire."

An assembly government spokesperson said : "The funding for a race equality officer was for one year only, a temporary measure to help the race equality councils.

"The Welsh Assembly Government values the contribution the councils have made to race equality in Wales and understands the difficulties they face with the funding of their organisations.

"However, the funding of the race equality councils is essentially a matter for the Commission for Racial Equality and the Home Office."


SEE ALSO:
Council rapped over equality
19 May 03  |  Wales


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