CHANGE UP REPORT: A detailed report was produced on

"A survey of Infrastructure Support Services for BME Groups in the District"

To view report click HERE ->>>> /coemo/res/doc/Change Up.pdf




A Strategy for the Voluntary and Community Sector and the Learning and Skills Council

An event organised byCOEMO

Proceedings of the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Networking Conference held at the Carlisle Business Centre, Bradford, on 18 April 2005


Of late there has been growing acceptance of the importance of the voluntary and community sector in meeting the education and training mission of the Learning and Skills Council. Dawning, too, has been the realisation that there is a need for greater cooperation between the voluntary and community sector and the Learning and Skills Council if the latter’s mission is to be effectively accomplished.


Pursuant to, and as a result of, above, “Working Together” is the strategy produced by the Learning and Skills Council National Office detailing how the LSC and the voluntary and community sector (VCS) should work together.


Since the VCS is increasingly being recognised as a provider of learning opportunities, an employer, and a source of expertise and channel of communication, the strategy aims to harbinger a step change in relations between the LSC and the VCS.

As part of delivering the Working Together strategy, the West Yorkshire LSC has chosen to invest its allocation in two strands of activity, namely Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Capacity Building Networks and the District Implementation Plans.

The idea behind building BME networks (the raison d’etre of this conference) is to develop structures in the black and minority ethnic communities which would help facilitate an effective engagement with the LSCWY in delivering the Working Together strategy.

More specifically, the Bradford & District BME network will help synthesise and disseminate the learning activity already taking place in the BME sector and also identify future learning needs so that the LSCWY and the relevant BME organisations can work together more effectively to meet the individual needs.

These proceedings have been organised according to the topics addressed within the overall conference theme and generally fall within three broad areas (the subjects, too, of the workshops):

 BME engagement,

Learning provision,

and Training needs.

Following the summaries of the addresses of the conference speakers and the discussions at the three workshops, these proceedings conclude with a summarised list of actions emerging form the conference.

Finally, it is hoped that following this inaugural conference, this will not only become an annual event but also embrace other analogous networks in the region.


Welcome and Introduction     (Mohammed Salam)                                                    

Background to the Event       (Steve Housden)                                                          

Keynote Speakers’ Addresses

Angela Dobson (Learning & Skills Council)                                                        

John Harris (Regional Forum)                                                                     

Prof. Gus John (Gus John Partnership)                                                                        


Workshop 1 (Learning provision)                                                                                   

Workshop 2 (Training needs)                                                                                 

 Workshop 3 (BME engagement)                                                                                   

Plenary session                                                                                                                       

Closing remarks (Dr Geetha Upadhyaya – Chair, COEMO)                                           

Summary of Actions emerging from the Conference                                                               

Pen-portraits of Conference speakers and workshop leaders                                          

List of Conference participants                                                                                            



 Mohammed Salam (Director of COEMO)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this BME networking conference. It gives me great pleasure to see so many community groups represented here today as well as representatives from the Council, Bradford University, PCT, and other key institutions.

As a background to the work of the BME voluntary sector, their activities started about 40-50 years ago, with form filling (e.g. applications for housing benefit) being an example of the type of work carried out initially. These progressed to more diverse types of advice as the families of the initial immigrants arrived, culminating with the situation obtaining now whereby even mainstream services are beginning to be delivered by community groups. Thus, in Bradford now there are around 200 BME groups who are trying, with varying degrees of success, to help each other.

I hope that the programme today will prove very successful and I urge you all to be open, even if you have agendas. The event today should also afford us an opportunity to deliberate on the extent and nature of our involvement in mainstream training provision.

As I see it, we have two chief objectives, viz:

(i) to organise ourselves as a BME group and develop a structure for working collaboratively,


(ii) to further our involvement with the LSC.

We have with us today three distinguished keynote speakers who will enlighten us as to how we should strive to fulfil these objectives. However, before starting with the first keynote speaker, I would like Steve Housden to say a few words in relation to the background to this event today.

1a Steve Housden (Careers Bradford):

This event has stemmed from a short project from the LSC and I was asked by Sandy Finnigan (Chief Executive of Careers Bradford) to facilitate the initial development of a BME Network in Bradford.

Even though there was a very short timescale associated with this project, I was loath to just do a tick-box exercise. Accordingly, I set out to first identify some key organisations in Bradford to see if they could be organised into a network that could collaboratively deliver accredited and non-accredited training. I then had meetings with such organisations to identify the activities they were undertaking.

Thus, ABL, COEMO, QED, ATL, and ABCD were brought together to form a steering group, and at its recent meeting on 23 March, a decision was taken that Mohammed Salam of COEMO should lead this work forward in Bradford. Hence this BME Networking conference that we find ourselves at today.

One more thing – for the purposes of completeness, I will like to add that

this work was just one strand of the overall Working Together initiative, the

other being the District Implementation Plan, led by Dick Taylor of

Investment in Community Based Learning Action Programme Group and

facilitated by Nada Tokos.

 2. Angela Dobson (Director, LSCWY)

Hello, I am really glad to be here on behalf of the LSCWY where we have 120 staff working in close cooperation with the local Council on a number of initiatives, one of which is Working Together.

This Working Together document is a national document, not just a local West Yorkshire one, and since we are concentrating on working in close collaboration with the voluntary and community sector to implement this strategy, I want “you” to take this work forward with us.

We are aware that this represents a big remit for us but, once enacted, it will  provide a framework for working together in the context of learning.

We see the voluntary and community sector as:

-         an employer,

-         a provider of training, and

-         a source of expertise and a channel of communication

As such, the aim of the strategy is to have a step change in working with the VCS. We also view this as a long term initiative and not a short term solution. Thus we want to form partnership arrangements and extend best   practice by taking forward useful ideas.

Although the VCS is a huge sector (in Bradford alone there are over 2000 organisations) we want to work at West Yorkshire level, and I am very grateful to the Learning Partnership for bringing this work thus far.

Sub-regionally, the money allocation for developing plans for working together in the future was £50,000 across the 5 districts. From ESF, the total allocation is £1.25m (admittedly not an awful lot) to take forward this work and part of that is for capacity building of the BME sector.   

I’d like to add that we are also developing Community Action training programmes and a toolkit is to be launched shortly. There is also our Equality and Diversity Strategy which is working locally and regionally, and Working Together is a part of that.                                                                         

 To summarise, I would like to say that we have developed a model framework for going forward, have done a Benchmarking exercise internally, and are working on evaluating the impact. We are also working on an e-learning strategy, on reducing barriers to VCS involvement, on reviewing communication channels to reflect good practice in the strategy, on cross-sector clusters in SMEs in the VCS, on a review of the VCS involvement on the StAR process, and on the underperformance of males in training (not just BME but all).

 Clearly, we have a lot of work to do on measuring our success and, hence, I look forward to feedback from you. Finally, I thank you for inviting me today.



  1. John Harris (Regional Forum)


       Hello, my role at the Regional Form is that of the WFSD Co-ordinator.

       As Regional Forum works closely with regional BME networks, I will

       address issues relating to VCS/BME infrastructure, Home Office ChangeUp,

       and the LSC Working Together strategy.


            At the heart of the whole issue is clearly the need to build bridges through an

            infrastructure that allows proper dialogue between the Government and the   

            VCS communities so that policy can be developed and put into practice.



            Infrastructure functions




Home Office ChangeUp


     --- Support for frontline delivery


     --- Infrastructure review, report and investment


    --- Performance Improvement, Workforce development, ICT, Governance, 

         Volunteering, Financing the VCS


    --- Infrastructure Development Plans should detail how the needs of diverse

         organisations and communities are best met


     --- GOYH commissioned BME Regional Panel to engage with and influence

          regional structures  



       LSC Working Together Strategy


           From previous speakers this morning, an overview of the strategy has already

           been provided. The following schematic delineates a flowchart of the

           hierarchical links relating to the development of the strategy and its nationwide

           implementation (note: there is a two-way link between each stage):



National Implementation Group




VCS Working Group (NIACE)



National LSC



David Harborne – North Yorks

Regional lead on VCS + regional group

VCS Regional form & consortia



Links to VCS sub-regions




Draft regional Working Together Plan – VCS issues on the table







BME Regional Skills Panel





  1. Prof. Gus John (Gus John Partnership)


Hello everybody and Good Morning. As John Harris has already related, we (the Gus John Partnership) were commissioned to bring together a BME Skills Panel.


As Mohammed Salam noted in his Welcome address, the BME sector has been operative for over 40 years in a gamut of activities. And it is no exaggeration to say that their experience over the long period has been fraught with a litany of problems. Some of these have related to the relationship between the BME sector and the mainstream authorities. While progress has been made in this regard, much still needs to be done. A case in point is the requirement on the small community and voluntary sector BME organisations to fill in application forms (e.g. ESF) which are unwieldy to say the least. I take this opportunity to urge that these must be simplified.


The main challenges and factors that impinge on the LSC and the VCS working together may be summarised as follows:













Three workshops took place at the Conference. The following excerpts provide a summary of the issues raised at each.



Workshop 1


Theme: Learning provision


Convenors: Gurdev Dahele and Javed Khan


Issues raised:


            Local learning provision: 


The delegates felt that there was adequate learning provision through the mainstream and the ACL sector and listed the following as training providers:

Bradford College, Bowling College, Edutech Ltd, City Training Services, the Cathedral Centre, Open University, Open College, Community Centres, Faith Centres, and access to E-Learning.



Participation of BME:


The participants noted that the provision does meet some of the needs of the BME sector but not all, and went on to list the areas where provision is lacking, as follows:


--- current provision not aligned to local needs

--- lack of easier access, lack of awareness of provision

--- lack of awareness of the needs of new immigrants

--- lack of childcare provision – day and evenings



Ensuring provision meets the needs


The delegates felt that following actions need to be taken to ensure provision meets the identified needs:


            --- funding should provide for childcare costs

            --- need for ESOL trainers

            --- need for interpreter training in the service sector

            --- providers should constantly review the provision

            --- COEMO should act as a liaison group between providers and community  


            --- awareness should be raised of the needs of the disabled

            --- support should be made available for filling in funding applications

            --- help should be provided with the accreditation of BME providers

            --- awareness of local groups needs to be raised



Workshop 2


Theme: Training needs


Convenors: Kathryn Wyatt and Anila Ali


Issues raised: [for expository convenience, the issues raised below are listed in   reverse order to as discussed at this workshop – Editor]


            Barriers to training


                        --- costs

                        --- requirement of National Insurance number at registration

                        --- complications of accessing courses

                        --- red tape

                        --- lack of understanding of needs within the organisation

                        --- lack of co-ordination of training provision


            Identification of training needs


                        --- interpreting training for trainers

                        --- management committee skills

                        --- governance training

                        --- first line management training

                        --- community development training

                        --- training in completing funding applications

                        --- training in accessing existing services




Workshop 3



Theme: BME engagement


Convenors: Anthony Clipson and Ishtiaq Ahmed


Issues raised


            BME engagement/structures/issues of involvement


                        --- what is the engagement history of BME organisations/

                        --- mapping required of current BME provision in the region?

                        --- do community groups want to work together?

                        --- consultations continue but don’t go anywhere!

                        --- current structures enforce competitive working (barriers to co-


--- lack of resources for infrastructure networks to communicate

--- not enough knowledge of regional BME structures

--- lot of skills/knowledge available in the BME sector

--- is it worth fiddling about with small pots of short-term funding?



            Actions required


                        --- improved training of senior officers on community needs and issues

                        --- access should be simplified

                        --- information flows should be improved

                        --- bureaucratic structures must change

                        --- BME groups need to look at the needs of the communities and then 

                             identify ways of addressing them

                        --- need sustainable resources for BME infrastructure locally to feed 

                             into regional structres

                        --- institutional barriers in large organisations should be assessed

                        --- COEMO to have a comprehensive information-providing role

                        --- COEMO should be strengthened and made sustainable

                        --- COEMO should find regional and sub-regional representatives

                        --- COEMO should be accountable to communities

                        --- COEMO should be equipped for offering training to senior

                              representatives so that they can be effective in representation roles
































In the Plenary Session, Mohammed Salam asked workshop leaders to report one or two key findings/issues. Following were their reports to the panel:


Anthony Clipson (Workshop: BME Engagement)




Gurdev Dahele (Workshop: Learning Provision) 





Anila Ali (Workshop: Training Needs)






Following the above presentations, a short but lively question and answer session took place to conclude the plenary part of the Proceedings.




Closing remarks (Dr. Geeta Upadhyay – Chair of COEMO)


Following what has been a truly fascinating event, and very informative for me personally, I would simply like to add, as Chair of COEMO, that to fulfil the letter and spirit of this very timely Working Together initiative and make it an enduring success, we (that is, the BME organisations) must also CHANGE. Once again, on behalf of everybody, I thank you all for coming and participating in the event. Please enjoy your lunch and partake in networking.  






Actions emerging from the BME Networking Conference


Following is a summarised list of actions emerging from the Conference, as compiled by the Editor:



























Pen Portraits of Conference speakers and Workshop leaders


Angela Dobson: Since the Learning + Skills Council for West Yorkshire was established in April 2001 Angela has held the post of Director of Quality Improvement within the Executive Team.  She has the lead role in ensuring that the equality and diversity are embedded within the plans of the Local LSC. Prior to joining the Learning + Skills Council Angela worked as Head of the Training Division at Calderdale and Kirklees Training and Enterprise Council (TEC), and prior to that she was a Civil Servant. 


Anila Ali:  Anila is a capacity building advisor working on the Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) Community Action Training Support (CATS) project. The aim of CATS is to provide a range of capacity building support services to community organisations across West Yorkshire, allowing organisations to engage in, and develop work based training and learning provision that will support them through the transition of becoming an independent learning provider.


Anthony Clipson: Anthony Clipsom is Director of Bradford Community and Voluntary Service.  He has worked in the VCS in Bradford for more than 20 years.  He is currently involved in the local delivery of ChangeUp, the government's investment programme for VCS infrastructure. 


Dr Geetha Upadhyaya: Dr. Geetha Upadhyaya is the Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Kala Sangam and Chair of Consortia of Ethnic Minority Organisations. She qualified as a Chemical Pathologist and has a post graduation in classical Indian dance and music. She is also a member of the LSC - WY and Connexions and Shipley College.


Gurdev Dahele: Gurdev has been Chief Executive since 1996 of Action for Business (Bradford) Ltd which now owns and manages the Carlisle Business Centre in Manningham, Bradford. Prior to this he ran the Inner Cities Task Force and worked at the Government Office for Yorkshire and the Humber.


Ishtiaq Ahmed: Is a BME partnership officer of Voluntary Action for Kirklees. He is the senior vice-president and ex general secretary and founder member of Council for Mosques in Bradford. He possesses in-depth experience in working with community and voluntary sector locally and nationally. His experience goes back in working for local authority, director for Bradford CVS and director for Bradford REC. 


Javed Khan: Javed Khan is a project Coordinator for West Bowling Community Centre, Quadrant Participation project and Manningham/Girlington plus PACT project. He is a management committee member of Girlington Community centre and a Board member of West Bowling Sure Start. He has been working in the voluntary sector for the last 15 years. 


John Harris: Workforce & Skills Development Coordinator Y&H Regional Forum. He has experience of setting up a housing co-operative in inner-city Leeds, voluntary work with children, young people and people with learning difficulties. For eight years John worked in mental health Daycare services. This was in two inner-city areas of Leeds – offering support through a range of activities from counselling to crafts. John has worked as a freelance consultant working with both voluntary and public sectors. He is the author of the NCVO Good Management Guide for the Voluntary Sector.


Katherine Wyatt: Katherine’s experience is from both a Bradford and West Yorkshire wide perspective. She is acting Chair of the West Yorkshire Learning Consortium for voluntary and community groups and is involved in the Steering Group of Working Together.


Mohammed Salam: Is Director of Consortia of Ethnic Minority Organisations. Having obtained his Master Degree from the University of Bradford he joined the community development work. He worked for the local authority for 27 years, 15 of which were as Equal Opportunities Advisor (head of the service). He is currently Chair of Bradford C-Net and Board Member of Bradford Vision. He has held many positions in local, regional and national voluntary & statutory organisations including member and British delegate of Migrants Workers Forum in Europe and Chair of Bradford Racial Equality Council. He is also a Justice of the Peace for Bradford Magistrates’ Court.


Nada Tokos: Is a Steering committee member of BME capacity building network and the district implementation plan for the Learning & Skills Council – West Yorkshire.


Professor Gus John: Is an independent consultant from Manchester. He has a wealth of experience in dealing with the BME voluntary sector. His Partnership has been commissioned by LSC-WY.


Steven Housden: Works for Careers Bradford. He was a lead member of the working together strategy and implementation group of the Learning & Skills Council - West Yorkshire.



List of Conference attendees




A. Andryszewski

Polish Community Centre

Ajit Singh

Kala Sangam

Amria Khatun

Bradford Council

Angeela Dobson

Learning + Skills Council

Anila Ali

Asian Trades Link

Anthony Clipson

Bradford CVS

Archana Shukla

Hindu Cultural Society

Arshad Khan

Cantebury Advice Centre

Ashok Suri

Action for Business Ltd

Ashraf Miah

Bangladesh Porishad

Ashwin Mistry

Sewa International

Asif Hussain

Asian Disability Network

Asma Tariq


Balbir Singh

Bradford Community Education

Balu Lad

Shree Prajapati Association

Barry Malik


Bobsie Robinson

Culture & Regeneration

C Jovanovic

Serbien Organisation

Charles Dacres

Bradford Council

Cissa Wanumbe

African Network

Cynthia Richardson

Bradford College Learning Partnership

Dilshad Khan

NHS Trust

Dr Geetha Upadhyaya

Kala Sangam

Dr. Mujtaba Iqbal

Bradford University

Famida Hussain

Keighley Asian Women & Children Centre

Fozia Sarwar

Sharung Voices

G Wolny

Polish Community Centre

Gurdev Dahele,MBE

Action for Business Ltd

Hardeep Singh

Guru Nanak Gurdawara Day

I Butt

Pakistan Community & Neighbourhood Assoc

Indrani Sircar

Roshni Ghar

Ishtiaq Ahmed

Voluntary Action Kirklees

Janet Ford


Javeed Khan

West Bowling Community & Training Centre

Jeremy Gee

Asian Express

John Harris

Regional Forum

Kabeya Boniface

African Network

Katende Mbuyi

African Community Support Project

Katherine Wyatt

Joint Training Board

Liana Wilson


Liaqat Hussain

BCB Radio

Lovely Begum

Keighley Asian Women & Children Centre

Lukman Miah

Manningham Healthy Living Initiative

M Mistry

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh

M Samad

Bangladesh Community Association

M. T. Butt

Asian Elders Association

Mohammed Afsar

Astana Aliya Naqeebiya

Mohammed Ashraf Tahir

Jamiyat Tabligh Ul Islam

Mohammed Imran


Mohammed Khaliq

Mother & Toddler Group

Mohammed Rafique

BPI Drama Group

Mohammed Salam


Mohammed Shaukat

Karmand Community Centre

Mrs Kalsom Akhtar

V I Sahara Group

Mushtaq Hussain

Manningham Youth Project

N. A. F. Raja

Pakistan Community & Neighbourhood Assoc

Nada Tokos

Learning + Skills Council

Najma Ali

Voluntary Action Kirklees

Naseem zaman

Bradford University

Omer Shurkian

Bradford Action for Refugee

Pravin Patel

Jobcentre Plus

Professor Gus John

The Gus John Partnership

R Karagic

Serbien Organisation

Radia Tarafder

Urban Regeneration of Communities

Raja Ifzal

Bradford Council


Asian Trades Link

Rushi Munshi


S A Mir

Ashiana Elderly Daycare Centre

Sabiha Khan