HAPPY New Year!
When I set up QED in 1990, I thought – naively with hindsight – that we would have a lifespan of only ten years because our work would soon be taken over by mainstream organisations – national and local government, the public sector and private businesses. Yet here we are in 2016 and I feel that we are needed more than ever.
In 2015 we celebrated 25 years of successful campaigning against inequality, poverty and disadvantage, which are the main causes of conflict discrimination, and alienation. Through influencing public policy and direct service provision we have improved the opportunities available to hundreds of thousands of people from ethnic minority communities.
We are now entering the next stage of our development. While things have improved for Britain’s 8m people of ethnic minority heritage over the last 25 years, there are new challenges that we need to address. We now plan to build on our successes to do this – taking account of changing external and internal factors and very testing times for the third sector in the UK.
Our strategy for QED Foundation over the next five years (2016-20) is to increase our focus on influencing and enabling the public, private and third sectors to address barriers to the progress of ethnic minorities. In this way our small charity will continue to have an enormous impact. We are particularly keen to focus on our work on those communities that are most socially and economically disadvantaged. We also aim to increase the representation of people from ethnic minority backgrounds in senior decision-making roles across a wide range of occupations in the private and public sectors.
We will make every effort to become more financially independent by setting up and supporting social enterprises that will generate income for our charitable work. These include QED Employment & Skills, which will deliver high- quality welfare to work and other public service contracts to all sectors of society. The Rakkaposhi cafe will offer high-quality coffee and desserts, with all profits used to further the progress of disadvantaged communities. We will also be supporting the London-based national social enterprise 3SC LLP. We were one of the founding partners in 2009 and it has since won and delivered over £70m worth of public service contracts, mainly delivered by third sector organisations.
Over the years I have also found gaps in provision and I am now setting up independent voluntary initiatives to address these needs. These include Asian Virsa, which will promote unity in diversity through bringing people from different cultural backgrounds together to share the art, music and heritage of the Indian subcontinent. AgeEM will address the growing problems of older people from ethnic minority backgrounds while the Refugees and Migrants Integration Forum is exploring ways of helping new arrivals find training and jobs, set up businesses and access housing, healthcare and social care.
The European Pakistani Network will celebrate the achievements of the 2.5m-strong diaspora living in the EU member states and dispel misleading misconceptions that act as obstacles to progress. We will also be developing initiatives between the UK and Pakistan for the mutual benefit of citizens of both countries.
Our successful 25-year track record would not have been possible without the support of many individuals and organisations from the public, private and third sectors. As we enter 2016, we wish to thank all those we have worked in partnership with us over the years. We hope that you will continue to support us for the next five years and beyond.
I am always grateful to people who give constructive feedback and suggestions for our work and welcome your views and opinions. Please write to me at email@example.com
Dr Mohammed Ali OBE Founder & Chief Executive