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17:00 Thursday 12 July 2012  Written by Nick Mayo

Race discrimination claims after PWA funding bid failure

Karamat Hussain
Karamat Hussain

The president of the Pakistan Welfare Association (PWA) has accused Slough Borough Council of 'race discrimination' after it refused the charity's bids for funding.

Karamat Hussain, 75, said: "The PWA has served in Slough for 50 years and now because of the council’s actions faces closure.

"This is a clear case of race discrimination, of depriving a hard-to-reach community of essential services.

"I am deeply appalled at the decision the council have reached."

He also hit out at the council for taking five months to make a funding decision it had promised in two months.

The charity represents a 30-35,000-strong Pakistani community in Slough.

It is among several organisations left unhappy and unrewarded by the council's new approach towards community and voluntary sector funding.

Last week the Express reported how charity Slough Refugee Support had also been denied contracts, despite the council nominating it for a Queen's Award.

Mr Hussain explained the PWA submitted two different projects to work with the hard-to-reach Pakistani community.

He added: "The PWA works with families who are most vulnerable and those who experience difficulty in gaining help from mainstream services due to language barriers.

"This work helps to alleviate the burden from the council."

The council apologised for the process taking longer than anticipated but said this was because of the larger than expected number of bids.

A council spokesman: "We understand the disappointment that some organisations will feel with the outcome.

"We received a large number of high quality bids from local voluntary agencies and we have a limited amount of funding available."

Founded in 1964, the charity has been negotiating with the council to purchase the 99-year lease for the PWA Youth & Community Centre in Darvills Lane, Chalvey.

It is appealing to the community and businesses to donate generously as it looks to raise £330,000 to purchase the lease.

Call 01753 821003 or visit www.pwaslough.org.uk to donate.

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