Ethnic minority group tackles funding crisis

The Ethnic Minority Foundation will launch a massive development programme for the black and minority ethnic voluntary sector tomorrow to combat a funding crisis which threatens hundreds of organisations.

EMF aims to transform the management capacity of around 1,000 groups nationwide from 2004 as part of a £3.4 million programme.

A team of 13 has been recruited to offer hands-on support in areas such as governance, business planning, marketing and funding.

Chief executive Krishna Sarda said the foundation had to take action to stave off a severe funding crisis among BME groups. "Although these organisations are providing services for thousands of people from ethnic minorities, they lack long-term funding," he said. "We face the possibility of a crisis where people from ethnic minorities are denied the services they need."

The programme - 'Building a secure base' - has already assisted around 150 BME organisations in London which have generated an extra £1.7 million because of the support they have received.

EMF said it will have supported 600 London-based groups by the end of 2004 and will expand the programme next year across England to reach a further 400 groups.

Under the scheme, capacity-building officers trained at the University of East London will analyse an organisation's management capacity. They will then recommend changes, such as writing a new constitution. The University of East London will then verify that the group has carried out the recommendations, granting a certificate to demonstrate to funders that it has been 'capacity built'.

The programme has been backed by £2.5 million from the London Development Agency and £900,000 from the European Social Fund.

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