Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Linking Up to Beat the Racists

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Linking Up to Beat the Racists

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jane Picken

Community leaders are planning to travel to Oldham to learn how the town has improved its race relations.

The trip, organised by the Avenues project in Gateshead, will include representatives from ethnic and cultural groups in the area.

They will visit Peacemakers, a group dedicated to improving ethnic community relations in Oldham, after riots there nearly three years ago.

The groups involved will include Gateshead's Angolan Association, the Muslim Society, the Asylum Seekers' Support Team, St Chad's Community Support Group, the Bangladeshi Association and representatives from Gateshead Council.

Trip co-ordinator Mohamm-ed Naseer believes Gateshead could have a lot to learn from the work of Peacemakers in Oldham, near Manchester.

He said: "In Gateshead there are different ethnic and cultural communities starting to arrive. When I was growing up in the 1980s there was about three or four houses owned by Asian people in Gateshead and now there could easily be 150.

"In Oldham these groups are now in their third generation and will have a lot to tell us about their good and bad experiences. The benefit of this is to get ideas of how different communities work especially in ethnic minority groups."

Gateshead has good race relations and the two representatives from each group visiting Oldham hope to learn from the mistakes made there.

Mr Naseer said: "There is are big cultural gaps and preconceptions in Oldham and there is a big difference between the community groups. Peacemakers are trying to change this in Oldham now, but we want to make sure this doesn't happen in Gateshead at all.

"For example we are getting a lot more Asians moving into Gateshead who cannot speak English and they are having problems, but we want to help them with this so they don't feel isolated. …

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