Portsmouth Race Equality Network Organisation
The Local Minority Population
The 2001 census found the non-white population of Portsmouth to be 5.26% with just under 10,000 people. The other 3 boroughs of SE Hampshire had a considerably lower proportion so that across the four boroughs the non white population is 3% with around 15,000 people.
In Portsmouth, the largest ethnic group is the Bangladeshi community with around 2,500 people. Other minority groups include the Chinese, Vietnamese, African, Caribbean, Asian, Arab, etc. So the minority community is characterised as being a small proportion of the population and spread across a considerable number of ethnic groups.
Consequently, the minority communities do not have the level of impact on the local cultural life of the area as is often the case in other conurbations.
Bringing Together Two Organisations
Portsmouth Race Equality Action Group (PREAG) was formed in 1986 and provided a forum for local agencies concerned about race equality issues.
Portsmouth Minorities Communities Forum (PMCF) was formed in 1999 as an umbrella organisation which aimed to facilitate closer links between all ethnic minority community organisations.
In 2001 a series of open meetings were arranged to which were invited all of the members of both PREAG and PMCF.
This led to the decision to establish a new joint organisation and at a general meeting on 14 July 2003 the new joint organisation was formed and the Memorandum and Articles of Association were adopted.
Work to Date
Since the initial general meeting on 14 July 2002 PRENO has held regular General and Committee meetings. General meetings involve a social and networking element and are used to inform members of current topics of concern as well as to discuss issues of common interest.
In October 2004 PRENO held a Race Conference, bringing together BME communities and local public/statutory agencies services to look at issues within provision. You can see the conference reports part 1 and 2 if you go to the down load section of this website.
Newsletters have been produced and published. PRENO has had information stands at a number of events including the annual Portsmouth Multicultural Festivals 2004, 2005 and 2006.
PRENO is actively involved in Race Relations Legislation with a number of local statutory agencies and has also recently been commissioned by GOSE (Government Office for the South East) to carry out Change Up re - Specialist support for BME, faith, asylum seekers / refugees and traveller groups. PRENO is also a partner of the Diversity means Business project; promoting diversity and Race Relations to small to medium business in the private sector.
We have held free training courses for BME community groups using external trainers. We have provided developmental support including governance and funding advice for a number of Portsmouth’s established and new BME groups.