Minority groups grant decision 'short-sighted'
Several black and minority education organisations are under threat, after Croydon Council voted against a review of its decision to cut their funding.
Campaigners including parents, children and volunteers were left disappointed at Monday's Croydon Council meeting when councillors voted against a review of their decision to cut the Education Community Grants Programme.
The programme help fund mentoring, language classes and other supplementary educational projects for ethnic minorities.
Nero Ughwujabo, chief executive of Croydon Black Minority Ethnic (BME) forum, described the decision as "short-sighted and very disappointing."
He said: "We aren't talking about big money at all when you compare the money given to other uniformed groups. The decision is very short sighted, these projects help the borough in the long run.
"These activities are preventative, and try to constructively engage young people's time. In the absence of these projects we do fear for what will happen.
"We hope it won't lead to crime but the reality is this is a borough where we are seeing an increase in violence on the streets, where there were riots last year.
"This is why the community feel so strongly, they don't want their young people exposed in that way."
The budget which was £123k, was shared between 16 BME organisations, but from January 2013 a reduced budget will focus on mentoring programmes.
Tony Harrison, from the Croydon African Caribbean Family Organisation (CAFCO) who received £7k funding a year, said the organisation's future was uncertain and described the decision as "disappointing for Croydon."
He said: "When all these things disappear at the drop of a hat, what do you expect them [young people] to do?
"You give someone nothing to do, they will find something to do-how do they know it won't lead to crime? That is my fear for Croydon."
Croydon Council has said schools are meeting the need of the borough's ethnic population which has reduced the need for independent supplementary education.
Councillor Tim Pollard, cabinet member for children, families and learning, said: "I believe it is right for the council to invest in improving the capacity of schools to deliver these services directly, rather than relying on others to provide the extra support these young people often need."
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