What is Stevenage World Forum for Ethnic Communities?

We exist to address the needs and aspirations of the ethnic communities of Stevenage.

We aim to improve the quality of life, fulfil potential and enhance participation in the educational, social, economic and cultural life of the borough.

We endeavour to achieve this by fostering understanding across all communities and by working in partnership with statutory providers and the voluntary sector.

Why was the Forum Established?

To give the ethnic communities a voice and act as a representative body in communicating with other organisations and consultative groups (statutory and voluntary) and ensure they are not left out of decision-making processes.

To raise issues of concern and develop proposals and practical initiatives to make services more accessible in partnership with statutory and voluntary bodies.

To encourage networking amongst ethnic groups and share and celebrate cultural diversity.

To develop projects to meet the needs of ethnic communities and mixed heritage families of Stevenage.

To enable people to share knowledge and good practices.

To break down barriers caused by ignorance and encourage mutual respect.

To work towards establishing a multi-cultural centre for educational purposes, social activities, meetings or worship or fair access to existing community space.

Forum Activities

We support ethnic community groups by building their capacity through provision of resources and assistance within the boundaries of our funding. We do this by offering the following:-

Administrative assistance (including photocopying) u Contact/Mailing address (including fax, phone, email, website space) u Meeting spaces u Access to computers (document production, email, web, etc).

We are seeking funding to support the Forum’s activities and those of member groups. When successful bids are made, we wish to offer fundraising services, networking, training, advocacy, advice and counselling services.

To date, we have received financial support from Stevenage Borough Council, East of England Development Agency via the Single Regeneration Budget, Herts Community Foundation, Herts County Council, Stevenage Community Trust and personal donations.

We have actively supported the establishment of a supplementary school to help improve educational achievement of African and Caribbean children.

Key Forum Events

1998   Held Celebration event and consultation which led to the establishment of Stevenage World Forum for Ethnic Communities.

1999   Published ‘Time to Listen – Hearing the Voices of Ethnic Minority Elders in Stevenage’.

2000   Adopted constitution and held first AGM.

2001   Received first grants from Stevenage Borough Council and Single Regeneration Budget to establish early administration and development work. A successful bid made to the Home Office Active Community Unit in partnership with Stevenage Volunteer Agency for the Together Centre project.

2002   Held Ideas Day to consult with ethnic community and voluntary groups, statutory bodies and individuals.

The Forum opened its first office in the Together Centre, Bedwell, Stevenage.

Celebrate!!! The Forum’s first major multi-cultural combined arts event, was held at the Gordon Craig Theatre in celebration of Black History Month, in partnership with Stevenage Borough Council, Stevenage Leisure Limited and Pegasus Opera.

The Forum established the Campbell Younge Award (with support from Visions Community Association) for presentation annually to a person chosen by Stevenage residents for their outstanding service to people of all races.

The Forum is a member of Stevenage Compact u Stevenage Community Safety Partnership u Hertfordshire Voluntary Sector Standing Conference u Stevenage Social Inclusion Forum u Stevenage Partnership u Stevenage Cultural Forum u Menter (regional network for ethnic communities).

We are able to record, confidentially if required, incidents of hate crime that occur in Stevenage. We offer advocacy in partnership with Equal Voice.

We also help other organisations to make their activities more accessible to members of ethnic communities.

We endeavour to establish firm long-term working partnerships that genuinely benefit all partners.

Stevenage World Forum for Ethnic Communities is an active organisation, not just a ‘talking shop’. We are not dominated by any single group or individual and an atmosphere of mutual respect prevails at all times.

We would like to hear from you if you wish to become involved with the activities of the Forum as member or a volunteer, or if you are a new or existing ethnic community group. Membership is free.