IN-Ren 1st Birthday Networking Event
13/09/2022 (Staff Post )
So, last week, we held a networking session to mark the first year of IN-Ren (Integration Network Renfrewshire). IN-Ren aims to improve awareness and access to health and employment services available to ethnically diverse communities of Renfrewshire.
Addressing race equality is no easy task. Through IN-Ren we are establishing Renfrewshire’s first ever forum for ethnically diverse members to share lived experience and engage with agencies. Plus we’ve launched a new race equality toolkit to inform learning and inspire action to promote race equality. And furthermore we are delivering a series of race equality training sessions beginning in October to provide an understanding of various forms of racism, as well as racial bias and the issues affecting ethnically diverse people.
Networking Plenary – IN-Ren Journey so far
As someone who has organised and attended numerous equality themed events, the IN-Ren networking event was a highlight as it brought together IN-Ren members, volunteers, and practitioners. It showed the potential of what can be achieved when people come together at a local level to influence change both locally and nationally.
Our excellent speakers during the plenary session covered a range of issues around race equality including work being done in Renfrewshire at grassroots level, health and social care issues, and perhaps most significantly, offered an inspiring insight into lived experiences experienced by asylum seekers and the difference the third sector can make to improve the lives of those most affected.
Networking Session – Food for thought!
Around fifty people attended the event including IN-Ren members, local and national practitioners and a range of third sector organisations and volunteers brought together to connect with each other and drive community action.
It was great to see lots of different organisations that work in Renfrewshire getting together and looking at how we can end racial discrimination and promote integration The enthusiasm and a number of useful contacts were made. A huge thanks to all who attended and contributed to making the event a success.
Moving forward, we plan on sustaining and developing the IN-Ren forum toolkit, and training programme. We’re delighted to have successfully bid for 3 years’ funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to bring race equality into the areas of education, research and related areas including support to address the needs and barriers of asylum seekers.
This will result in increased diversity and representation at a community planning and practitioner level, and thus positively impact on supporting integration with our ethnically diverse communities. As such, this is just the start of our journey and, in the words of Nelson Mandela, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite”.