BAME: a little semantic correctness would not go amiss.
“BAME has nothing to see with us,” Michael Jonathan said. The chairperson of the SACSEN put it strongly when he added: “we want to make the policymakers know that the African-Caribbean community is different from the BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic). A lot of organisations have been using this BAME semantic; we are now to represent the African and Caribbean community itself.”
The Network would like to know how the decisions are made on climate change and women issues, as the unfairness in the distribution of resources between the BAME has negatively affected African and Caribbean in Scotland. “The community now wants to have a voice on how services are shaped and delivered in order to be part of that delivery of services,” a member of the network said.
Beltus Etchu is the chief executive of the Next Step Initiative and a member of the network; he emphasized the difference between “what is written and what is done on the ground…There are a lot of organisations which claim they provide services for our community while they are not,” he said. He added: “it is good to see communities applying but better to see proportionalities.”
The debate over what makes a proper Climate Change Fund application.
Some other key points have been mentioned during the meeting with the representative of KSB (Keep Scotland Beautiful), a charity which manages the Climate Challenge Fund on behalf of the Scottish Government.
The network criticised the “generic feedback” they received when their applications are rejected. They asked for clear and constructive feedback and support within a reasonable timescale. The aim is to help them understand exactly their mistakes and get ready for robust draft applications while still meeting the deadline.
About 15 organisations attended the meeting. They all asked for workshops and mentoring support on milestones and outcomes. The network would like Keep Scotland Beautiful to look at options for workshops specifically tailored for the African and Caribbean community for better applications.
It has been revealed during the meeting that the community is frustrated over the Climate Challenge Fund. “The African and Caribbean were the first ever ethnic minority community in the whole of Scotland to develop a project for the climate change-Keep Scotland Beautiful. Oddly, they are still struggling with applications despite that knowledge and exposure,” a member revealed during the meeting.
Thus, there is a game, and the community wants to understand and know how to play it. On that point, Alistair Brown, the government representative said: “to be honest as long as the application clearly meets the criteria of the fund, it is likely to go through. By that, I mean the applicants should clearly communicate their engagement with the community, show a real need for the project and show that they are clearly going to help to reduce Carbon emissions in the community.”
Mr Brown also said that projects that are more sustainable are more likely to be funded. Therefore, applicants need to show “there is a sustainable legacy. That means after the end of the project the impact will continue…,” he added.
It is therefore essential for the applicants to know that the Climate Challenge Fund is a Scottish Government grant programme managed by Keep Scotland Beautiful to support communities to take climate action across Scotland.
In the end, the participants were delighted as they received some clarifications and precise details on application’s requirements. For instance, the four key criteria remain the same while there is a slide change on timescales and types of applications. All details are available on the Keep Scotland Beautiful’s website.
All is well that ends well.
It was a very satisfactory meeting according to both the SACSEN and the government representative.
Alistair Brown said that the meeting was very productive and through the partnership with the network, the government has quite a lot of positive things to work away. Mr Brown left with a suitcase full of clear understandings of what kind of support the government can provide to the network and how they can “work all together to support African and Caribbean communities that are trying to apply to a climate change fund support,“ he said.
From the network’s point of view, the fact that the engagement and consultations with the government are ongoing is a great thing.
Mr Jonathan, the chairperson of the SACSEN, confessed: “they have already had an understanding of what we are doing, and that’s the key. We are looking forward to the MOU (memorandum of understanding).”
The network’s members want the government to have an understanding of what they are doing and enable them to know where they can find the community and work with them as an African and Caribbean community.
The SACSEN has many projects. However, they are concentrating on the Climate Challenge Fund as it is the actual main concern. The leader of the network hopes that others African and Caribbean communities will join the network “very-very shortly for a massive-massive turn around within the community,” Mr Jonathan emphasised.
The network is looking forward to an agreement between them and Keep Scotland Beautiful, outlining the terms and details of an understanding with a precise definition of the requirements and responsibilities.