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Council announces £400k in equalities grants during Southwark’s first anti-racism action week

20 March 2023

This week Southwark Council will be welcoming residents and colleagues to the borough’s very first Southwark Stands Together Week as they announce an equalities grants fund worth £400k.

Southwark Stands Together (SST) is the council’s borough-wide initiative started three years ago in response to the killing of George Floyd and the injustice and racism experienced by Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. This came into sharp focus during the pandemic where death rates from COVID-19 were highest among people from those communities.

From 20 March to 24 March 2023, the council is hosting a programme of learning sessions and community conversations to reflect on our anti-racism work to date and what we should be doing next.

In summer 2020, key themes emerged from our borough-wide listening exercise attended by more than 1,500 people where we sought to learn about people of colour’s experience of living and working in Southwark. One key issue that people raised was that council funding was not shared fairly across community groups.

We commissioned two independent reviews and amended the ways grants are made to make them as accessible as possible, as well as agreeing new grants. Our new equalities grant fund is the latest of these; co-designed with community representatives and worth £400k, with £200k ring-fenced for Black, Asian and minority ethnic-led organisations.

Applications will shortly be open to local organisations and charities led by those with protected characteristics as set out in the Equality Act 2010.

Cllr Stephanie Cryan, Cabinet Member for Communities, Equalities and Finance, said: “Our ongoing commitment to root out racism has to be backed up by listening, reflecting, and importantly, taking action. This Southwark Stands Together Week is all about exactly that. It reaffirms our pledge to put equality and justice at the centre of how the council is striving to be an anti-racist organisation, guided by our communities and colleagues.  

“Our new equalities grants are just one of the ways we are breaking down barriers and building in opportunities for people from all communities to succeed. We are diversifying the trustees of arts, cultural and heritage organisations in Southwark through our bespoke Black on Board project. We recently launched an internal career progression programme to ensure proper representation is achieved at the highest levels of the council. We are working to close the ethnicity pay gap; both at the council with a new strategy and developing a toolkit for businesses to self-report their data.

“I’m proud of the progress we have made together, though we still have far to go. This week and every week, Southwark stands together for a better, fairer and more just future for all in our community.”

For more information on Southwark Stands Together Week or to join events, visit www.eventbrite.com/cc/festival-of-learning-and-reflection-1842939

Page last updated: 29 March 2023

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