Bike Across Cultures is an annual community event, which brings together many diverse communities from Kingston and Richmond and is our contribution to Bike Week which takes place in June every year.
Bike Across Cultures is a joint event between Kingston Race and Equalities Council and Ethnic Minorities Advocacy Group in Richmond. Both organisations work towards the elimination of race and equalities discrimination; and promote equality of opportunity and good relations between people of different racial and cultural groups in the two Boroughs. The event is part of our Health Awareness and Healthy Living programme and involves cycling and walking. It has been planned, organised and run in partnership with local Black and Minority Ethnic community groups, the Royal Borough of Kingston, the London Borough of Richmond, the Police and other organisations.
The event takes place at Kingston Gate of Richmond Park and is on one of the Saturdays during Bike Week. It starts at 11.00am and ends at 3.00pm. It is a free event and bi-cycles of different sizes are provided. People who have cycles are encouraged to bring their own to guarantee a ride. A number of goodies can be won in a raffle. There will be a picnic area, face painting, Indian head massage and henna tattoos. There is also attendance by Dr Bike who test bicycles and repairs them or offers advice. The Police attend to offer safety and security advice and to mark bikes.
The Mayors of Kingston and Richmond attend to launch the Bike Across Cultures at 11.00am.
The aim of Bike Across Cultures is to promote the benefits of cycling and walking to Black Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. One of the main benefits is health promotion, healthy living and awareness raising on sustainable and alternative ways of transport. For example, regular cycling and walking help to reduce chances of developing illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Bike Across Cultures event is designed to help people find out about ways of staying healthy and active. It is also about having fun and celebrating diversity within our cultures.
Integration and community cohesion are topics that receive a lot of attention both in the media and from government and local authorities. A critical barrier to integration and community cohesion is the persistence of ethnic inequality and unequal outcomes or access to services. Failing to understand and address local ethnic inequalities means the needs of Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities are not being met and their life chances are contracted.
In recent years austerity policies have led to major reductions in public spending, requiring councils and other public sector organisations to make difficult financial decisions. Local authorities have a legal duty around eliminating unlawful discrimination, advancing equality of opportunity and fostering good relations on the basis of protected characteristics. As local authorities develop proposals regarding the reduction of services it is crucial that they consider the needs of all members of the community.
The Race Equality Scorecard brings together quantitative evidence on six different key indicators to help inform the decision-making process of public authorities, and to equip local communities with the tools necessary to hold them to account.
In 2013 the Runnymede Trust and Kingston Race and Equalities Council published the Kingston Race Equality Scorecard. The purpose of the Scorecard was to enable BAME communities to enter into a meaningful dialogue with the local authority, Kingston upon Thames London Borough Council, and its partners, to assess their performance and help identify what the local priorities for race equality were. The Scorecard facilitated a better understanding of the pressures, identified key areas where change was both necessary and feasible, and created an opportunity to work together to make a difference.
The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames was one of the first boroughs the Runnymede Trust worked with as part of the pilot project, alongside Croydon and Redbridge. For this reason the Trust is keen to carry out a refresh of the Race Equality Scorecard in Kingston, alongside work in five new boroughs. In Kingston our partner is the Kingston Race and Equalities Council (KREC).
The Race Equality Scorecard reports on outcomes for different BAME groups by sampling data in the following six areas:
- Criminal justice
- Civic participation
Local councils are currently experiencing significant budget cuts imposed by central government. These cuts are having a significant impact on the role that councils play in the provision of services. In this context it is even more important that close attention is paid to ensuring all local residents are treated equally and are able to flourish. The Runnymede Trust’s Budget Briefing (2015) highlighted the ways in which the effects of austerity policies, directly or indirectly, increase racial inequality.