18 February 1999

 

MEETING THE NEEDS OF ETHNIC MINORITIES

 

The ethnic minority population of Lincolnshire is thought by many to be small, and that racism is not a problem.

 

But a recent survey and report by the Forum for Racial Justice has highlighted these attitudes as partly to blame for widespread ignorance of the issues.

 

Prof Gary Craig from the Policy Studies Research Centre at the University of Lincolnshire & Humberside is working closely with members of the forum to research the on-going educational and social needs of the minority ethnic community in rural areas.

 

“For those who think that racism and racial violence are not an issue for Lincolnshire, we hope this report will alert them to the need to think differently,” said Prof Craig, who is based at the Lincoln campus.

 

His report is part of a series which will explore the extent of minority ethnic services in the county. There are already some services such as English language classes for people for whom English is not a first language, but it is not clear whether these services adequately meet the need in the community. There are many other areas of service provision where very little is currently on offer.

 

The 1991 census revealed the minority ethnic population as only 1% of the total county, but Prof Craig said the current figure is likely to be double.

 

An earlier survey on the educational needs of minority ethnic women had pointed to problems of accessing services, lack of appropriate local educational provision, isolation and racism in the labour market.

 

The 1998 Forum for Racial Justice survey sought to address these issues and many others. Of the 228 organisations who responded to the survey just 36 or 16% had identified the need for specific services for ethnic minorities through their work.

 

Several respondents from areas where there are relatively significant minority groups stated that there were no minority groups in their areas, an indication of how such groups can be invisible.

 

A copy of the report is available from Rev Frank Emery, LRFJ, 2 Thornton Close, Washingborough, Lincs., LN4 1HQ.

 

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