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Agenda item

Community Forum Reports and Feedback

To receive reports from representatives of the following groups:

  • Interfaith forum – results of equality issues survey
  • YREN – key issues arising from YREN Forum/Elders group
  • LGBT – issues arising from forum cases
  • OPA – results from survey carried out in the spring and next steps
  • Steve Rouse – issues arising from work with young people
  • Feedback from 5 November SIWG EIAs fair (Help us to get it right day)


The Group received the following reports:


(a)               Interfaith Forum


The Group gave consideration to the survey of religions and belief groups in York that had been carried out jointly by York Interfaith and Churches Together in York.  The aim had been to explore the current work, perceptions, and concerns of the main religions and belief groups in the city.  Forty-five Centres of Worship and meeting places of Belief Groups were represented in the returns. Jan Jauncey went through the key issues.  She explained that there were a number of points raised by the survey that would be taken forward, including raising awareness of integrated activities, an annual faith conference and a joint environmental project.  Officers informed the Group that the main findings from the survey would be included in the Council Equality and Inclusion Strategy 2009-12.


A separate questionnaire on Equalities and Diversity had also been circulated but, of those who had responded to the survey, only 30% had completed the form. 


The Group expressed their best wishes to Paul Wordsworth who was currently in hospital.


(b)               York Racial Equality Network (YREN)


Rita Sanderson updated the Group on events in which YREN had been involved.


·        On 1 October 2008, YREN had formally launched their Senior Citizens Ethnic Elders Social Group.  The group had been pleased to welcome Jack Archer of the York Older People’s Assembly, who had provided the opening introduction.  Attendees had included representatives from Age Concern, the Older People’s Assembly and other organisations. 

·        YREN had hosted and facilitated the York BME Citizens Open Forum on 18 October 2008.  The theme had been based on community safety and the launch of the new YREN racial harassment information cards.  Key issues had included the lack of awareness of the meaning of hate incidents and a reluctance by individuals to report incidents for fear of reprisal or because they felt the incident would not be taken seriously.   Possible key themes for future Open Forums included community safety, community cohesion, inequalities with health provision, and English as an additional language support.

·        Rita reminded the Group that YREN elected representatives to serve on SIWG on an annual basis.  It had been agreed in 2007 that the Forum would elect one male and one female representative.  She sought advice as to whether there could be some flexibility in this matter.  She was informed that it would be permitted for the representatives to be of the same gender.


Concerns were expressed regarding the increasing costs of hiring community venues.  It was felt that this could prevent organisations from meeting or holding events.  Steve Rouse suggested that organisations might wish to consider hiring Youth Service accommodation, as the rates were competitive.


The Group were concerned to note that a member of the public had attended a YREN event who had behaved in such a way as to make other participants feel very uncomfortable.  The Police had been notified and had confirmed that the person was known to them.  Officers asked if other representatives had experienced similar incidents.  It was noted that some of the Groups represented used PO Boxes for correspondence and that difficulties sometimes arose in respect of promoting the support they provided or advertising particular events.


(c)               Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT)


Peter Blackburn reported that their AGM had taken place and a new committee was in place.  Work to develop a new website was progressing well and it was hoped that the site would be available by the end of the year.  Mesmac was involved in delivering diversity training at York College and this appeared to be having a good impact.  There was a growing demand for social events to be arranged and another Pride event would take place in 2009.


(d)               York Older People’s Assembly (YOPA)


·        Consideration was given to the findings of the YOPA questionnaire.  Sue Lister went through the key issues with the Group.  It was noted that having a receptive Council had been considered the most important factor.  Issues had also been raised in respect of staff training in all services.

·        An evaluation of the 50+ Festival was circulated.  It was pleasing to note that the event had bridged the generations and had been a celebration of inclusiveness. 

·        A paper was circulated which summarised the consultation that had taken place at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (E&HRC) event held on 17 November 2008.  This had been one of a series of twelve consultations that were taking place nationally on behalf of E&HRC, with the aim of achieving grassroots input into the three-year equality scheme being prepared by the E&HRC. 

·        The Group’s attention was drawn to a DVD entitled “Sisters on the Planet” which had been produced by Oxfam and Christian Aid.  Copies were available from Oxfam.


(e)               Young People


·        Steve Rouse informed the Group that young people from Applefields School had been taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award.  Three students had already completed the award and four more would have done so by Christmas.  They had taken part in an expedition and had coped extremely well.

·        A disability trampolining club was taking place on Monday evenings from 5.00 pm to 6.00 pm at All Saints School.

·        The Law College had been asked to deliver a workshop to raise young people’s awareness of their rights.

·        The Children’s Fund Programme Manager had met with young people as part of the consultation on the Children and Young People’s Plan.

·        Steve informed the Group that he had attended a Transgender Awareness Workshop.  This had been extremely worthwhile and he recommended the training to others.  Further sessions were due to be held at the Priory Centre in York on 15 December 2008, 18 February 2009, 16 April 2009 and 25 June 2009.  (For further information contact: www.GenderShift.com or Bookings@GenderShift.com).

Supporting documents:


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