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From April 1st 2018, it is proposed that Cambridgeshire Race Equality and Diversity Service (CREDS) will close.
The Service supports Black, bilingual, minority ethnic, Gypsy, Roma, Traveller (GRT) and refugee children, families and communities across the county to access education and services.
CREDS also takes a lead in the county on equality and diversity, including challenging prejudice-related behaviour. This makes for a harmonious, safe environment which benefits and enriches the lives of us all and empowers our diverse communities to make a positive contribution to our society. As part of its equality and diversity role, CREDS has enabled the Council to be ranked in the top five authorities in the Stonewall Education Equality Index for the last seven years.
Our most vulnerable and marginalised children and families will potentially be disadvantaged by the loss of CREDS. The negative impact will include:
· Schools’ inability to diagnose a bilingual child’s learning or special educational needs (SEN).
· Increase in GRT children missing from education and associated safeguarding concerns.
· Increase in poor mental health and self-harm among lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans (LGBT+) young people.
· Loss of expertise in supporting mainstream services to better engage their communities.
· Loss of bilingual support and interpreting.
· Loss of expert local knowledge.
· Loss of long-standing relationships and partnerships.
· Erosion of dialogue, trust and mutual respect between minority ethnic families and communities and service providers.
By signing this petition we are asking Cambridgeshire County Councillors to review this proposed closure and its impact on our communities.
Dr Dora Alexopoulou & Dr Napoleon Katsos
University of Cambridge,Theoretical and Applied Linguistics
Cambridge Bilingualism Network
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