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Grant for ethnic skills project.

An organisation which encourages ethnic groups to gain skills and confidence through working with the environment has been awarded a pounds 156,000 Lottery grant to set up a project in Birmingham.

The Black Environment Network (BEN) received the money through the Community Fund to pay for a full-time development worker, office equipment and running costs.

BEN administrator Pam Green said the grant would be allocated over three years and would help establish a project targeting disadvantaged ethnic groups in the city.

The scheme supports participants by helping them build links with health, housing and environmental organisations so they can access information, resources and set up their own projects.

Director of BEN, Judy Ling Wong, said: 'Many ethnic groups live in the most socially deprived and environmentally degraded areas of inner cities.

'The expertise and and resources available within the environment, housing and health sectors is enormous. These can make a crucial difference to improve the lives of ethnic groups, many of whom are disadvantaged and live in poverty, who have not had access to them.'

'BEN takes a unique position with regard to inclusion. We believe that alongside fighting racism, there is an enormous untapped force for change that rests within people of goodwill who far outnumber racists.

'In the environmental sector, we work with major players such as Greenpeace, Groundwork and The National Trust and many others, acting as adviser on policy and strategy.

'We provide training and play a key role in promoting the organisational culture change which lays down the basis for effective work with ethnic minorities.'
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 3, 2001
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