2003 - 2005

MENTER received funding from EEDA which allowed it to establish its community outreach programme and appoint three county based officers – now referred to as Strategic Development Officers.

MENTER compiled a comprehensive survey of BME members’ issues, organisational profiles and support needs as well as commissioned a review of race equality matters in six towns – Ipswich, Peterborough, Norwich, Bedford, Basildon and Cambridge. With the information from these reports, MENTER trustees set their first business plan and priorities.

Tthe Home Office relaunched its regional network funding programmes changing the objectives to a single strategic one: “to promote and support the effective engagement, contribution and influence of the VCS as partners in regional policy development and implementation”. At the same time another infrastructure programme, Change Up, was launched (later becoming Capacitybuilders). This did not replace ACU funding as the purpose was developing infrastructure services rather than the ACU objective of strategic influence. MENTER joined a partnership of regional networks, led by COVER – the Regional Voluntary and Community Sector Infrastructure Consortium (RVIC). MENTER engaged with RVIC partners to form the VCS Equalities Group (VEG). This led to funding from GO East initially and later from Capacitybuilders for MENTER Equalities work. As part of this work MENTER supported the development of the Regional Race Equalities Councils Partnership. MENTER also received Connecting Communities funding from Communities and Local Government to run a partnership development project for refugee and migrant worker services.

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