In September 2006 Citizens Advice, Citizens Advice Northern Ireland and Citizens Advice Scotland made representations to the Carnegie UK Trust to support a programme looking to see how race discrimination advice in rural areas could be improved. In April 2007, Carnegie informed us that they were willing to fund such a programme.
The successful application was based on the principle that we would work across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In Northern Ireland race awareness courses would be run for all the rural bureaux. Financial support and training would be available to help bureau undertake this work. In Scotland we would look to work with a single bureau, or a group of up to three bureaux, to ascertain how the identification of race discrimination issues and the provision of appropriate advice in rural bureau can be improved.
Initially we would work with the bureau in order to identify how it can improve the race discrimination advice it gives. We would then collaborate to produce and deliver a training programme to meet these requirements.
Once the bureau had been supported to identify these issues and to improve the race discrimination advice offered; it would be expected to work with BME groups in the area and to publicise its advice service to BME communities. It was expected that increased contact with BME groups would lead to the bureau recruiting volunteers from those communities which would in turn increase the bureaux capacity to deliver advice to all client groups.
Each bureau or group of bureau received about £3,000 per year for 3 years (£9,000 in total). This meant the activities were carried out with very limited resources with a view to other rural bureaux being able to replicate work with only a limited impact on their budgets
Bureau monitored the number of BME clients they advised before, during and at the end of the project.