The new TSRC paper, "'Very small, very quiet, a whisper' - Black and Minority Ethnic Groups: voice and influence", is based on primary research carried out in Birmingham, Greater Manchester and London.

The research consisted of a literature review and individual recorded interviews with members of BME VCS organisations, strategic organisations and focus groups. As the title, a quote from one of the interviews, indicates the overwhelming view was that voice and influence was indeed limited.

Organisations, perhaps in common with many in the 'mainstream' VCS, articulated the view that they are struggling to survive in the face of severe funding problems and also the impact of initiatives such as the Single Equality Act 2010, which they perceived to have had an adverse impact on their funding, service delivery and ability to influence. However the paper also identifies that there was considerable resistance to adverse changes and a widespread determination to continue to deliver services and to challenge in some instances.

The paper has lessons for the VCS as a whole in recognising the needs of the BME VCS and attempting to be inclusive in partnership arrangements, and also for statutory organisations in identifying that there are many communities that require resources to provide for specific needs in their communities.