Lancashire BME Network (LBN) is a recently formed entity, resulting from the merging of Lancashire Women’s Network (LWN) and Lancashire BME Pact (Pact) in 2014.
Having worked closely over their respective histories on a number of programmes and initiatives, the boards and members of each felt it appropriate to formally merge the two bodies in recognition of their complementary natures and common goals to support local marginalised communities. This also allows for better use to be made of existing resources in face of significantly increasing demand from both local communities and referral agencies.
LWN were formerly known as Lancashire Wide Network for Minority Ethnic Women and were established in 1996 as a result of Fair Play seminars looking at poor levels of economic activity amongst BME women. The Pact set up in 2003 after identifying a need amongst BME groups and organisations for specialist capacity building support. LWN were the only organisation in Pennine Lancashire to support BME women in a ‘joined up’ service and address the holistic wellbeing of each woman it engaged with. The Pact were a well-respected representative body, with a track record of supporting infrastructure and BME groups around a number of thematic issues and needs.
Having collaborated on various projects and programmes throughout their respective histories, the Boards and Members of LWN and Pact felt it appropriate to merge the two entities to better achieve their shared goals of supporting BME communities:
- both had a strong emphasis on user involvement;
- the boards of both were comprised of current and ex service users, as well as other key political, social, and economic stakeholders;
- both delivered community based learning activities supporting the development of BME communities.
The newly formed body is continuing and building on these shared successes, but is now able to make better use of existing resources through a more integrated management and strategic intervention structure in empowering marginalised BME communities. The merger has also resulted in a widening of our remit and LBN is now able to work with all genders.