2002

The coordinator resigned from BMEN and the network entered troubled times with the withdrawal of grant from the Home Office ACU pending submission of an appropriate work plan. Go East officers, Henry Tam and Sue Lowe were instrumental in helping the network rework its ambitions and its scope. Go East funded a BME forum to discuss the key issues affecting the sector in the region. By using this discussion forum approach it helped BMEN Board members and others to separate out organisational issues from the vision and purpose needed to drive action. BMEN was revitalised and some members of the Forum, like Kuldip Rupra and Mahebub Ladha, joined the BMEN Board. Liesbeth ten Ham was appointed as Support Services Officer and later in the year, in November, a new coordinator – Ila Chandavarkar – was appointed.

The work programme was resubmitted and accepted by the Home Office ACU. The network was relaunched with its new name, MENTER (Minority Ethnic Network East of England), and also registered as a charity that year. The attendees of the AGM launching the new name asked that this was always accompanied by the strap line – the Black and Ethnic Minority Network for the East of England. This was because they liked the acronym MENTER but did not wish to lose the emphasis on “Black” which they felt referred to a political movement on race (from the 1960s and perhaps most notably expressed through the civil rights movement in America) rather than solely denoting people of African and Caribbean origin.

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