Racial Equality Council re-opens drop in service after cash problems

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DONCASTER’S Racial Equality Council is back - a year after it had to suspend its services.

The organisation had to suspend its drop in services for the first time in 35 years in 2010 after it was hit by funding problems.

But the organisation is now bringing them back on Wednesday mornings at Bentley Methodist Church.

Doncaster REC lost its funding from Doncaster Council in 2004, and had been getting by using money raised from grants.

But despite around 12 applications for funding last year, it was unable to put up the cash it needed for its drop in sessions at Doncaster YMCA.

Now it has raised enough to start again using the church as a base, but supporters warn they will have to raise more cash to keep the new arrangement running for more than six months.

Spokesman David Hepworth said: “DREC progressed through various transformations since it was formed in 1975 to promote good community relations in response to the activities of the National Front.

“For the past six years or so, it has survived as a relatively small voluntary group without paid staff, holding open meetings to celebrate diversity and raise public awareness about racial issues.

“It has also, during that time, maintained a part-time town centre advice and contact centre, staffed by trained volunteers, to give more individual support to people and families facing abuse and discrimination.

“This ‘drop-in’ centre was suspended in 2010 as we could not attract sufficient funding to keep it open. As a campaigning group, we maintained our activities as Hope not hate Doncaster.”

The first meeting at the new base at 57 Chapel Street, Bentley, was on June 1.

Mr Hepworth said he still believed the DREC had a local role in promoting good community relations and opposing discrimination.

He said: “We gave ourselves the target of raising sufficient money from local fund-raising to pay our way for at least six months before moving to a new suburb base. “Thanks to donations from individual supporters and groups such as trade unions and faith groups, we achieved this target, although we still need donations and fund-raising for later in the year and beyond 2011.

Anyone who wants to get in touch with Doncaster RECat can e-mail donrec@hotmail.co.uk or call 01302 822211.