Breaking: Ealing backs down over SBS funding cut


by Sunny
19th July, 2008 at 4:09 pm    

I’ve hear from a friend that Ealing Council has backed down over its much condemned decision to cut funding for Southall Black Sisters. No surprise the original plans came from a Conservative run council, but I bet they were surprised at the strength of the opposition to their plans. The demonstration in support of SBS was on Thursday/Friday. Anyway, once I know more I’ll post it.

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  1. sarah — on 19th July, 2008 at 5:02 pm  

    Thank you for making my day Sunny!

    WE DID IT!!

  2. Cath Elliott — on 20th July, 2008 at 12:00 am  

    It’s true Sunny. I was in the High Court yesterday as the case was being heard. We went back in after lunch and Ealing Council’s barrister announced their decision to withdraw. After lots of behind the scenes chat, they all came back in and told the judge that Ealing had agreed to pay SBS’s costs, plus contribute to the costs that the EHRC incurred.

    The judge is going to issue a judgement on the case soon, ‘cos even though Ealing withdrew, SBS argued that it was in the public interest for there to still be some kind of ruling, to prevent local authorities ignoring race equality issues when allocating funding in the future.

    As you can imagine, there were some jubilant scenes afterwards – both in the courtroom and outside:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/helen61/2679672075/in/photostream/

  3. mixtogether — on 20th July, 2008 at 1:34 am  

    Can anyone tell me what exactly SBS do? I have been working around the field of Asian women’s rights for about 3 years now, and have only seen them mentioned in footnotes.

    Do any Asian people actually identify as black any more?

    People In Harmony’s AGM in Ealing today was good- looking forward to Rumbold’s review.

  4. Sunny — on 20th July, 2008 at 12:31 pm  

    brilliant, brilliant stuff cath. I was trying to find the demo but couldn’t see you lot anywhere!

  5. Joolz — on 20th July, 2008 at 3:07 pm  

    Can anyone tell me what exactly SBS do? I have been working around the field of Asian women’s rights for about 3 years now, and have only seen them mentioned in footnotes.

    You’ve been working in the field of Asian women’s rights for three years, and you don’t actually know what SBS do?

    I insert the ‘LoL’ initials here.

    ++++++

    I think that SBS should see where they can strategically integrate with the existing services of Ealing Council now. They should be looking to compliment the specialised departments of the local social services unit.

    It would be helpful to know exactly what is lacking in Ealing Council’s services that SBS provide, and how they can compliment each other.

  6. zohra — on 21st July, 2008 at 10:25 pm  

    Sunny, what do you mean you couldn’t find us?! Did you follow the directions – High Court, Strand… it’s not like there was somewhere else you could’ve ended up.

    Link to one of the first stories breaking the news here: http://www.ealingtimes.co.uk/news/localnews/display.var.2403179.0.sisters_celebrate_as_council_caves.php

    From SBS’ press release on their victory:
    “UPDATE: Southall Black Sisters’ Victory against Ealing Council

    “‘There is no dichotomy between funding specialist services and cohesion; equality is necessary for cohesion to be achieved.’ Lord Justice Moses

    “On 18 July at the High Court, in a dramatic turn of events, Ealing Council withdrew their case after one and a half days of a hearing which saw their defence rapidly unravelling. From the outset, it became apparent to the presiding judge, Lord Justice Moses and to all those present in the courtroom including the packed public gallery, that Ealing Council was skating on really thin ice in attempting to justify its decision to cut funding to SBS and to commission instead one generic borough wide service on domestic violence on the grounds of ‘equality’ and ‘cohesion’.”

    @mixtogether, re ‘what does SBS do’, why not start with their website, or buy the book about their work (From Homebreakers to Jailbreakers: Southall Black Sisters) or attend one of their events?

    They’ve literally changed the laws on violence against women, as well as the policy landscape and discourses on violence against ethnic minority women. I’m very surprised to hear that someone working in ‘Asian women’s rights’ wouldn’t have heard of them – they’re pretty major players in the field.

  7. zohra — on 21st July, 2008 at 11:32 pm  

    SBS’ press release now up on this post.

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