Headlines: September 1st, 2003

Seventy-five projects designed to promote greater opportunities for the most disadvantaged people from ethnic minority communities are to share more than 15 million pounds of government funding. They are the winners of the second round of the Connecting Communities race equality grants programme, announced today and they will share the 15.16 million pounds over the next three years.The selected projects will encourage communities to work on joint initiatives with other faiths and other groups and work with public service providers and employers to build community trust and to make appropriate contributions to employment policies and the way services are delivered. The schemes are also being rewarded for celebrating the achievements of people from ethnic minorities to counteract negative racist stereotyping and to help build relationships between communities of different ethnic origins.

The second phase of Connecting Communities was launched in March this year. It has three strands – Community Networks, Access to Jobs and Positive Images. The grant was developed after consultations with community and faith group leaders.

Home Office minister Fiona Mactaggart said the successful schemes were encouraging people to get more involved with their communities, to gain new skills and to fulfil their potential. “Celebrating local achievements helps tackle racist and negative stereotyping and can help give people a real sense of belonging,” she said.