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By Michael Brown

Senior Staff Writer

6 November 2020

| | 2 min read


Report sets out how city is tackling inequality

Newcastle City Council has set out a range of initiatives that are tackling inequalities during the pandemic.

Rainbow with Newcastle is a city for everyone

They are outlined in a report that will go before the city’s Cabinet on Monday, November 16. 

The Annual Equality Report sets out key priorities and tracks progress the council is making in equalities.

Supporting vulnerable communities

The pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on the Black and Minority Ethnic Community BAME.

To ensure good communication, the council turned key public health messages into videos and targeted BAME communities in Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, Arabic, Romanian, Czech and Romani.

They were viewed over 30,000 times and reached 106,000 people.

Safe fasting messages were also issued during Ramadan and the festival's celebrations.

The council worked on a number of public health priorities with the BAME community.

Cervical screening was promoted especially to women from BAME communities, taking cultural sensitives into account.

This has resulted in a four per cent uptake rate in the first year of the Cervical Screening Saves Lives ‘No Fear’ initiative.

The BAME Public Health Steering Group is focusing on key BAME health priorities and creating data sets that improve understanding of risk factors, inequality, and trends in the BAME population.

The council is also working with its partners to reduce the impact of the pandemic on vulnerable groups who are economically inactive - residents with complex issues and health conditions, BAME communities, younger people and those with caring responsibilities. 

A city for everyone

The council wants Newcastle to be a city where everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances has a choice of good quality, fairly paid, job opportunities.

The North of Tyne Community Led Local Development initiative has helped around 360 people overcome barriers to unemployment including 100 people from BAME communities.

The Skills Hub offers a one-stop shop for support with training, career, and job advice. Recent events include an apprenticeship information session where over 100 young people attended to meet with employers.

Generation NE is an employment support programme the council leads for young people aged 18-29.

Funded by the European Social Fund until 2021, it has provided support to 1,000 young people.

'Equality at the heart of our decisions'

Deputy leader of the council, Cllr Joyce McCarty, who leads on equalities issues, said: “We put equality at the heart of all decision making in Newcastle.

"We understand the pandemic has widened inequality in our city – quite simply those that were struggling before the pandemic are finding it even tougher now as we head into a second lockdown.

“The message is clear; we know young people are struggling to find employment; disabled people and older people are struggling with isolation and members of the BAME community are more likely to die from COVID but we are doing all that we can to tackle these inequalities and support them through this difficult time.”

Earlier this year the council was named best employer in the country for LGBTQ+ staff by Stonewall.

It continues to target support at residents least able to manage the impacts of welfare reform through its Active Inclusion Newcastle partnership; it is working to become a UNICEF Child Friendly City; supports students from low-income families through the Newcastle Bursary and supports events that celebrate diversity including Chinese New Year, Pride and the Mela.