The Liverpool City Region (LCR) has announced its largest-ever investment in tackling racial inequalities among its workforce.
Mayor Steve Rotheram and the Combined Authority have approved £2.3m in funding to kickstart the second phase of the region’s ground-breaking Race Equality Hub (REH). The Hub, one of the first of its kind in the country, will focus on training, employment support and business assistance for people from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
It will provide a single point of co-ordination addressing chronic under-representation in the workplace. Its creation is a key part of the Combined Authority’s Race Equality Programme established by the Metro Mayor in October 2020.
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Steve Rotheram said: “Our region’s diversity is one of our greatest strengths. It enhances our culture, enriches our lives and makes our area one of the best places in the country to live and work. It’s my job to harness that creativity and ensure everyone gets the chance to succeed.
“Yet across our country, and the world, the reality is not all of our citizens are treated as equals. As public servants responsible for delivering on behalf of the 1.6m people who call the LCR home we have a duty to lead by example.
“The REH is the biggest investment in tackling racial inequality in our region’s history and a statement of intent to level the playing field. I’m aware as a middle-aged white man, I will never suffer the same experiences and prejudices as members of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, but I want to work with our region’s underrepresented groups to ensure that our response brings about a fairer, more equal future for all our residents, where no one is left behind”.
Councillor Janette Williamson added: “We know that racial inequality and barriers in the workplace hold back individuals from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, reducing their life chances and meaning, at a societal level, we’re missing out on a huge amount of potential. We’re committed to ensuring everyone has an equal chance to succeed and the REH will play a practical role in making that happen.”
Through the Race Equality Programme, the Combined Authority has begun delivering race equality training for the city region’s 21,000 local government staff. It’s estimated that addressing race inequalities could add around £300m to the LCR economy each year.
Since initial funding was approved, phase one of the project has been completed, which focused on information gathering, training and raising awareness of existing provision. Phase one created a development board for the REH, including nine external members with relevant experience and skills.
This funding boost will deliver phase two, which will identify and develop the support needed by individuals and businesses to remove labour market barriers and develop the REH’s delivery structure and business plan. It will also act as a centre of excellence to support mainstream organisations to strive towards achieving better representation through their employment, commissioning and service provision.
Madeline Heneghan, Co-Director of Toxteth based Writing on the Wall said: “This is very welcome news indeed. The initiatives of the REH will be vital in combating entrenched institutional racism and in helping to level the playing field helping businesses to flourish and talent to shine. It will bring benefits not only for the black and racial minority community but will bring economic benefits to the whole region".
Garvin Sealy, REH development board member, added: “It was an honour to work with the board to develop the REH. Active engagement in a thoughtful and progressive organisation, which will be led by individuals who are also part of the constituency, will go a long way to ensuring its long term success.”
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