As East Midlands Diversity Champion, Issan Ghazni met this week with members of Boston and Skegness Liberal Democrats to look at ways of promoting diversity, inclusivity and more effective engagement of both existing minority members of the party and from the wider community.
Boston has a thriving Portuguese community which has a history of membership and involvement within the Liberal Democrats. Carlos Corleia (pictured) is former Vice Chair and is a community leader in the local area. Issan was told that last year there were approximately 23 Portuguese members, and that this year the figure had dwindled.
A lack of involvement and engagement was cited as the possible reason for this loss of membership.
Issan met with Carlos Corleia, Paul Appleby (pictured) and with Rui Vagueino (current vice-chair) to discuss how it is possible to re-ignite engagement between the local party and the Portuguese community.
Issan was told about the current issues of relevance faced by local minority communities such as housing, racial harassment, language barriers, employment opportunities, poor pay and work conditions, schooling etc. There are also growing concerns in the local communities about media reports of far right protests in Skegness about planning permission being given to a Muslim slaughterhouse. The impact of growing far right activity in the area is causing unease and fear in local minority communities.
It was agreed that a party / community event should be organised to bring people together and to discuss issues of mutual concern. Both Paul Appleby and Carlos are now in the process of organising such an event in Boston. Hopefully, if successful, this may prove to be a model of best practice that the party can roll across the East Midlands Region.