By KLTV Newsdesk –
Local West Yorkshire community group, Kirklees Local Television (KLTV) has received a share of £9.5million of National Lottery funding to build a new initiative that helps promote equality and diversity in the region, through the knowledge and understanding of rights and responsibilities.
The grant has enabled KLTV to launch The Digital Equality Network (DEN) Kirklees, a platform that aims to connect African & Asian descendants and minority ethnic communities online.
The DEN also aims to promote the equality, diversity and rights of broader minority communities, such as persons with disabilities and LGBTQ+ communities.
The platform’s primary task is to keep minority communities informed, build safer and stronger spaces within those communities, raise aspirations and support each other.
The £24,000 grant has been awarded through the Covid-19 Community-Led Organisations Recovery Scheme (CCLORS). The scheme is led by independent trust Power to Change in partnership with Locality, The Ubele Initiative and Social Investment Business, and was part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund, which launched in May this year.
‘Knowing One’s Rights’
Milton Brown, CEO of Kirklees Local Television, said: “The DEN Kirklees provides essential information about individual and minority organisations’ statutory rights and responsibilities.
“Knowing one’s rights is vitally important to navigate the challenges society can throw at you, especially if you are seen or deemed a minority. The DEN platform will allow users and members to collaborate in specific forums, to discuss local issues that bring meaningful and sustainable change to their local communities.
“We want to raise aspirations within marginalised and minority communities. Moreover, showcase the local talent, enable local entrepreneurialism to thrive, share and build a network that has the trust of the minority ethnic community, educational institutions and key public sector decision-makers in Kirklees and across the West Yorkshire region.”
A variety of local business leaders, community activists, and educators gave their thoughts on the DEN initiative.
Heather Paul Lecturer, Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett University, said: “I wholeheartedly support the values and principles of The Digital Equality Network and congratulate them in launching a platform which will support individuals and organisations who are trying to ensure that their policies and practices disrupt racism and all other forms of discrimination.
“All education should be inclusive and not reinforce historical oppressive ideologies, the call to stop pathologising and racialising Black people and all people of colour has been raised many times this century.
“Support and encouragement to implement antiracist practices and intersectionalities has been around for over 70 years in the UK. It is critical in demonstrating that we value everyone as human. I wish the DEN every success with its range of support and consultancy to individuals and organisations.”
Amarjit Singh, Chairman of the Yorkshire Asian Business Association, said: “The DEN platform is a brilliant concept and resource. It is essential the minority communities have a voice and somewhere to go to learn about their rights.
“What is just great about the DEN is the non-minority communities can learn so much more about the history of ethnic minorities here in Kirklees and across the region.
“The DEN is an essential resource for educational institutions, public services and local business.
“The Yorkshire Asian Business Association is proud to support the DEN initiative.”
‘Without Unconscious Bias’
Kirsty Watson, CEO of Aquila Academy, described the DEN as a “Hub of information that can be tailored for individual and organisational needs without unconscious bias being present to hinder progress or opportunities”.
Camilla Boussaada, Cultural Ambassador with The William Henry Smith School, said: “The amount of information available in one place without having to use a search engine is fantastic.
“I looked through every video, every interview and found out so much, the amount of knowledge, insight and experience that can be gained from the DEN is phenomenal.”
Milton added: “If you visit the DEN, there is so much to learn about the history of Kirklees’ diverse communities, equality rights and inclusion.
“We aim to keep building on this fantastic opportunity the Power to Change fund and associates have provided the minority ethnic and broader communities of Kirklees through this important and much-needed initiative.”
COVID-19 Grant Funding
Like many areas in the north of England, COVID-19 has had a large impact on Kirklees and the local communities. In total, 302 community-led organisations have received a total of £9.5million through CCLORS to help recover from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The total includes 205 community organisations led by, or that support Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities
Grants of up to £100,000 have been awarded to community-led organisations in England facing severe financial difficulties as a direct result of the coronavirus lockdown. It has helped them to launch health and wellbeing projects, develop digital education workshops and continue providing vital services for their communities.
Vidhya Alakeson, CEO of Power to Change, said: “Whilst Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on people right across the country, it has disproportionately affected Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. By bringing together this strategic partnership, we’ve ensured this much-needed financial support is reaching those communities that need it most.”
KLTV wishes to extend a huge thank you to all past and present directors of KLTV, as well as all of the freelance specialists and volunteers that have contributed towards bring the DEN to life.
With the launch of the DEN, KLTV will be encouraging businesses, social enterprises, and members of the community to register and join the network.
Those who wish to learn more about The DEN can visit the website at https://www.kirkleeslocaltv.com/the-den