REEM – Renfrewshire Effort to Empower Minorities
During the summer of 2010 a ‘Taste of Africa’ event was held in Paisley Town Hall, organised by West of Scotland Regional Equality Council Ltd, working in partnership with local African volunteers and performers. From this event a few of the participating volunteers decided to get together to become a group and take forward some of the ideas and requests raised at the event. The more popular requests were for more events, family based activities, and setting up a ‘drop-in’ information shop somewhere in Paisley.
To assist with the various parts of how to set up a group and go about arranging activities and so on, two volunteers, during early November 2010, the group contacted members of staff at PPRC asking to arrange a meeting with one of the development officers. Just after the first meeting of REEM and PPRC a group established to support local Polish people approached REEM and asked if they could join up with them as they found themselves facing similar situations to the Africans – for example, they struggled with issues such as learning how best to contact health service providers, how to connect with the wider community of Paisley and Renfrewshire, and how to become more aware of the cultural and social norms that are taken for granted by the indigenous population.
The group and committee members have undertaken a number of consultation sessions. They have held open meetings of the committee to find out what types of things people want to do, where they would like to visit and gauge interest in holding a carnival/parade. They have held an African cultural event in Paisley town Hall, where again they asked people what they saw as the main issues for REEM to tackle. REEM are in the process of recruiting more volunteers through their own community networks and with the assistance of Engage Renfrewshire. They have also accessed local funding and been involved in CPP community based consultation events.
So far the group have organised a trip for around 50 people to the Falkirk Wheel. Within the feed-back on future ideas, people were asking to visit places that make Scotland ‘Scotland’ – for example Stirling/Edinburgh Castle, Glasgow River Side Museum, Kelvingrove Park, The Burn’s visitor Centre and lots more. As money becomes available trips and days out will be organised for as many people as they can get transport for.
The shop has proved extremely successful in generating quite a lot of ‘footfall’ with Africans and Eastern Europeans coming in to find out about numerous issues. The numbers coming in have surprised the committee so much that they are now looking at how to raise funding to employ people, and negotiate with various agencies and organisations for them to provide additional drop-in information sessions.
Engage Renfrewshire – Community Champions
For more information about Engage Renfrewshire please visit www.engagerenfrewshire.com
The ‘Community Champions’ section is a showcase of local community groups and organisations in the town. Each group has been working in the community for years dealing with all sorts of issues. In partnership with Engage Renfrewshire, Paisley on the web will promote each of these groups via the website, social media and through our volunteer network.
‘Engage Renfrewshire’ – the single door access for community action, volunteering and the voluntary sector in Renfrewshire
All of us here at Engage are committed to a strong, diverse and influential community and voluntary sector in Renfrewshire. We support local voluntary action by providing support, knowledge, and where possible innovation. We work in partnership with other support organisations and with the public and private sectors.
A large element of our work involves promoting the views and needs of people involved in local groups. We like to share ideas and we’re keen to make local working relationships better.