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Group’s bid to tackle rising tide of racism

 RACIST incidents among young people in Swansea are on the rise, according to a city-based youth project.

 

The Ethnic Youth Support Team says it is receiving increasing reports of racially motivated abuse from school age children and young adults.

 

And it has now been awarded a lottery grant of almost £170,000 to carry out a three-year project to help tackle the problem.

 

EYST director Rocio Cifuentes said: “It is an increasing problem. From our experience with young people they are reporting incidents more and more, and it is more widespread than before.

 

“Young people in schools are happier to express their views, and although they might be small incidents over a long period of time, they can have a huge effect on young people.

 

“Incidents include spitting, pulling head scarves off, graffiti, Islamophobia.

 

“Families are reporting more incidents. But it is different treatment to young Muslims who become radicalised.

“There are programmes to address those, but there aren’t necessarily for people who may be influence by the Welsh Defence League, the BNP or Combat 18.”

 

ESYT, based on St Helen’s Road, has been awarded the funding for its Think Project, following the success of a three-month pilot.

It will allow staff to work with around 80 youths a year, referred to them by the Youth Offending Service and alternative education providers.

 

Attitudes

 

It involves both group and one-to-one sessions, providing young people with more information, breaking down myths and helping them to develop their confidence and self-esteem.

And it will also seek to tackle the growing normalisation of racist rhetoric, attitudes and behaviours.

 

Ms Cifuentes added: “Unfortunately, despite developments such as Stephen Lawrence’s killers facing justice at last, racism and support for the far-right are not history, but are very much alive and kicking in some parts of our community.

 

“We know these attitudes are growing across Europe, you only have to look at the shootings in Norway.

 

“Through the Think Project we hope to work with young people who might not have had the chance to learn much positive stuff about immigrants, black people and so on, and to change this by giving them a chance to learn, experience and think for themselves, while at the same time recognising their grievances and helping them improve their own communities.

 

“Some young white people feel let down, as they feel the support is there for ethnic groups.

 

“We recognise that lots of them feel let down they don’t have similar support.”


 

© Ethnic Youth Support Team Registered Charity No: 1152486