What is ACOV?
All Cultures One Voice is a group of people, drawn from communities and organisations within Wolverhampton, with the aim of making sure that all housing initiatives and services within Wolverhampton are fully inclusive and sensitive to the needs of a multi-cultural society.
It wants to see greater representation from black and minority ethnic groups on panels forums and committees, that influence local services and greater engagement of these communities generally.
What are ACOV's Objectives
As part of our business plan we have developed six objectives:
- A continued development of ACOV as an organisation
- To further raise the profile of ACOV within Wolverhampton
- Open clearer channels of communication with the wider community via ACOV on a whole range of social care, health and housing issues
- Empower under-represented groups to participate in housing services
- Identify and improve wider community involvement. Identify groups and areas and rebuild confidence
- Play a full role in ensuring equality of access to services by all groups in the community
In the beginning
On 14th June 2003 the All Cultures One Voice group was launched at the Holliday Inn Dunstall Race Course Wolverhampton, to an invited audience of approximately 500 people, under the chairmanship of Reverend Frank Lewis. A major and key theme was the importance of housing with the central focus being on social housing. Strongly emphasised within the conference setting, was that Council tenants should have a say over how their homes are managed, and over how housing services are developed. For many years Wolverhampton had involved tenants in the development of housing services, but had not been successful in reaching out to the wider community, and with Wolverhampton being a very culturally diverse community a diverse approach would be needed hence housing services being sensitive and responsive to those needs.
ACOV was then a formerly constituted body with a clear aim and commitment in achieving a raised profile and through:-
- Networking with other organisations involved in related work
- Look at best practices in tenant involvement and how it could reach out to a wider community
- Investigate the best ways to communicate with the wider community
- Investigate certain issues that affect tenants, such as community safety, community cohesion, the overall future of housing services and the issues for Black and Minority Ethnic Communities
- Ensure that all sections of the community know what services are available and how to access these services
- Assisting those groups who are not currently involved enough to actually influence existing services
ACOV has managed to pursue and achieve some of these aims through the support of its active volunteers, and in August 2003 the group were proudly in receipt of the BME TARAN Global- Valuing Diversity Annual Award, at London’s Grosvenor Hotel for the Most Active BME Tenants Association, for its BME tenant’s activities and representation.
Top National Award for Local Group
Wolverhampton based, All Cultures One Voice (ACOV) has been recognised as one of the most active groups in the country.
ACOV is a group of people drawn from communities and organisations within Wolverhampton. Their aim is to ensure that housing initiatives and services in Wolverhampton are fully inclusive and sensitive to the needs of our multi-cultural society. They seek to see greater representation from black and minority ethnic groups on panels, forums and committees.
"We cater for everyone, no matter what colour or race and want to serve all people in Wolverhampton" said Frank Lewis, Chair of the group. “We are getting more and more people involved and are successfully working with the local authority and other community groups." Vice Chair, Eddie Grizzle added “We are helping people to have their say, know their rights and claim their entitlements."
The national award was presented in London at the BME Taran Global Conference. The award recognises ACOV as being one of the most active BME groups in the country.
In June, an official launch for ACOV took place at the Holiday Inn, Dunstall Park. The Launch attracted national speakers and was attended by 130 delegates from across the City including local MP Rob Marris.