• Andy Burnham joins Greater Manchester civic and political leaders for event to promote Operation Black Vote leadership and development programme
  • Panel discussion held at St James Church, Moss Side, chaired by peace activist Prof Erinma Bell MBE
  • Operation Black Vote programme application deadline extended to 27 February, and the programme will run over six months
  • Apply now on the Operation Black Vote website at obv.org.uk

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham is encouraging young people experiencing racial inequalities to apply now for a new programme to nurture the city-region’s future leaders.

The Mayor will make the call at an event today (Tuesday 15 February) in Moss Side, bringing together political and civic leaders and members of the community to discuss the steps that can be taken to open doors and empower young people across our city-region.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is working in partnership with Operation Black Vote to deliver a leadership and development programme aimed at addressing the underrepresentation of people experiencing racial inequalities within civic and public life.

The Civic Leadership Programme 2021 is looking for 30 people over the age of 18 who live or work in Greater Manchester who want to gain experience in civic and public life and make a positive contribution to their areas and communities.

Over six months, participants on the programme will take part in a series of training sessions and gain an insight into different areas of public life, including education, local government, health, policing, the criminal justice system, and the voluntary sector.

In addition, Operation Black Vote will host a series of online sessions for younger people, led by high-profile speakers talking about their experiences in overcoming barriers and achieving their aspirations.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Today’s event is about having an honest and open conversation about under-representation in public life, and how we’re working with Operation Black Vote to confront these challenges here in Greater Manchester.

“We know that some communities in our city-region still experience racial inequalities, and are not properly represented in the bodies that make decisions affecting their lives. Over the past two years the pandemic has brutally exposed those rifts that remain in our society, while the powerful calls of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 made a case for action that could not and must not be ignored.

“I am committed to ensuring that Greater Manchester meets this challenge head-on, by tackling the root causes of inequalities and injustices. That includes creating more opportunities for people from under-represented groups to join and lead the organisations that influence their lives, and empower them to achieve their goals. This partnership with Operation Black Vote is an important pillar of that ongoing work.”

Ashok Viswanathan, OBV Acting Director said: “We are always pleased with the diversity and intersectionality of our cohorts. We are particularly pleased that we have an overwhelming number of women, and other Black marginalised people represented on our programmes on a consistent basis. Diversity is our strength as OBV, as united communities, and as a vibrant and forward-looking society.

Merlene Carrington JP, OBV Director of Programmes said: “The enduring impact of seeing our communities participate and grow in confidence around civic leadership gives all of us hope of building a fairer, more equitable society.

“We want to select participants from most major faiths, and others with no discernible faith; we have participants with occupations ranging from education and business to community activists and youth workers. That’s why we urge you to apply now for this unique opportunity.”

The aim of the programme is to connect participants with first-hand knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of civic and political life, and provide them with the insight, skills, confidence, and practical knowledge to move into these sectors.

It will also give public appointees and professionals the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the perspectives and experiences of people facing racial inequality, improving their representation and involvement within decision-making processes.

The programme builds on Operation Black Vote’s 25 years of experience delivering award-winning leadership and development schemes.

To find out more and apply to the scheme, visit https://www.obv.org.uk/what-we-do/schemes-programmes-and-campaigns/gmca-civic-leadership-programme-2021.

Applications must be sent to obvschemes@gmail.com by midnight on Sunday 27 February 2022.


Article Published: 15/02/2022 15:18 PM