Funding agreed to support black and Asian businesses in Liverpool city region through Race Equality Hub

A Race Equality Hub designed to support diverse businesses and to make Liverpool City Region’s workforce more diverse has secured £2.3m in funding.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and the region’s combined authority have approved the funding for the second phase of the project, which will focus on employment support and business assistance for people from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds.

The hub is part of the authority’s overall Race Equality Programme which aims to “tackle systemic racial injustice and inequality in the City Region”. It estimates addressing race inequalities could add some £300m to the Liverpool City Region economy annually.

READ MORE: Click here to sign up to the BusinessLive North West newsletter

The new hub already has a development board including nine external members with relevant skills and experience and which has sought input from local communities.

The new funding will allow the hub to identify what support businesses and workers need locally to remove labour market barriers and to provide training and support to the region’s diverse communities. The authority says the hub “will also act as a centre of excellence to support mainstream organisations to strive towards achieving better representation through their employment, commissioning and service provision”.

Mayor Rotheram said: “Our region’s diversity is one of our greatest strengths. It enhances our culture, enriches our lives, and makes our area one of the best places in the country to live and work. As Mayor, it is my job to harness that creativity and ensure that everyone gets the chance to succeed.

“Yet across our country, and the world, the reality is that not all of our citizens are treated as equals. As Mayor of our great region, I know I am fortunate enough to be able to enact lasting change in our area.

“As public servants responsible for delivering on behalf of the 1.6m people who call the Liverpool City Region home we have a duty to lead by example.

“The Race Equality Hub is the biggest investment in tackling racial inequality in our region’s history and a statement of our intent to level the playing field and give everyone in our area a chance to thrive.

“I am aware as a middle-aged white man, that I will never suffer the same experiences and prejudices as members of black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, but I want to work with our region’s underrepresented groups to ensure that our response brings about a fairer, more equal future for all our residents, where no one is left behind.”

Madeline Heneghan, co-director of Writing on the Wall and Race Equality Hub Development Board member, said: “The initiatives of the Race Equality hub will be vital in combatting entrenched institutional racism and in helping to level the playing field for black, Asian and racial minority communities, helping businesses to flourish and talent to shine.

“It will bring benefits not only for the black and racial minority community but will bring economic benefits to the whole region.”

Garvin Sealy, Race Equality Hub Development Board member, said: “It was an honour to work with the Board to develop the Race Equality Hub. It represented a genuine opportunity to improve the opportunities and lives of people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds in the Liverpool City Region.

“Active engagement in a thoughtful and progressive organisation, which will be led by individuals who are also part of the constituency, will go a long way to ensuring its long term success.”

Councillor Janette Williamson, Liverpool City Region Portfolio Holder for Inclusive Economy and Third Sector, said: “We know that racial inequality and barriers in the workplace hold back individuals from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, reducing their life chances and meaning that, at a societal level, we are missing out on a huge amount of potential.

“As a Combined Authority we are committed to ensuring that everyone has an equal chance to succeed and the Race Equality Hub will play a practical role in making that happen.”

READ NEXT:

Business Live – North West