The Ethnic Minorities Law Centre is a recognised Scottish charity and has been operating since 1991 as a non-profit making company limited by guarantee providing ethnic minorities with access to professional services to address unmet legal needs.
Always looking to adapt to the needs of our service users, and to search out and address unmet legal need within the black and minority ethnic communities, we have developed specialist legal expertise to meet these needs and our service has responded to changes in the legal requirements and demographics of our client group.
The geographical scope of our service has expanded from Glasgow city to include most of the outlying local authority areas formerly in the Strathclyde Region. More recently, we opened a branch office in Edinburgh to provide a service to the city of Edinburgh, and we have also have established projects to expand our service in the Highlands, Aberdeen city and Aberdeenshire areas. Further details of these services can be found in the ‘Projects’ section.
As well as expanding geographically, the nature of our services has also responded to client needs and demands. For example, we have established specific youth projects to target young BME communities, such as the current Youth Discrimination Project. Our work with asylum seeking and refugee women led us to establish the Female Support and Counselling Project, to provide a holistic service to this vulnerable group who had particular experiences of traumatic events.
Looking towards the future, we have been active in engaging with the mainstreaming agenda to increase understanding of the needs of BME communities among mainstream advice and support agencies, and to increase their capacity to deal with these issues. This work was trialled in our successful PanLanarkshire pilot, where working in partnership with local CABX to provide training and second tier support was an essential part of the remit, and this model has gone on to form the basis of the Edinburgh, Highland and Aberdeenshire projects.
We have recently been awarded funding from the Big Lottery to roll out this mainstreaming work throughout Scotland, and we look forward to developing this role further, as well as continuing to provide an effective legal service to BME individuals.