Ethnic Minority Voices: Perceptions of Life in Renfrewshire, Community Engagement and Service Provision

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


This research set out to explore the perceptions of individuals representing Renfrewshire’s largest visible and invisible ethnic minority communities on issues such as living in Renfrewshire, community engagement and experience of service provision. The research deployed a qualitative approach involving focus groups with 4 ethnic minority groups representing the Polish, Syrian, Indian-sub-continent and Black Afro-Caribbean communities.

The following key findings emerged from this research:

 Respondents across the focus groups indicated lack of bin provision, dogfouling, anti-social behaviour, poor road maintenance, drug and alcohol abuse and the language barrier as key concerns.
 Overall, despite the aforementioned concerns, respondents from all focus groups rated Renfrewshire positively as a place to live.
 Respondents from the Polish, Indian sub-continent, and Black-Afro Caribbean communities were not fully aware of all the services available to them and cited that communication from the Council was poor when it came to raising awareness of the services on offer.
 Where there was direct engagement with services, the experience was mixed with the Syrian and Indian-sub continent groups citing no major issues but Polish and Black Afro-Caribbean respondents having faced communication problems.
 Health and medical services were the most used service by all focus group respondents with individuals from each focus group indicating their dissatisfaction with the service provided by GPs and health service practitioners.
 Respondents from the Syrian focus group, whilst appreciative of the language classes provided to them, do not feel that these are tailored to their requirements.
 All ethnic minority groups who took part in the focus groups had little or no awareness of specific initiatives implemented by the Council to support ethnic minority communities.
 Awareness and engagement with voluntary organisations set up to provide support and advice to ethnic minority groups was poorest among Indian-sub continent and Syrian participants and greatest among the Black AfroCaribbean and Polish communities.
 Respondents from all focus groups identified challenges they faced on a daily basis including lack of retail facilities for those resident in outer lying areas, lack of bins, inadequate housing and poor communication from the Council. Syrian and Indian-sub continent respondents identified a number of additional challenges such as the language barrier, a feeling of isolation and the lack of retail outlets catering for the dietary needs of religious minority groups.
 In terms of how respondents felt they were viewed by the indigenous population, respondents from the Indian sub-continent and Black AfroCaribbean focus groups did not feel that they were viewed particularly negatively or differently. In contrast, Polish and Syrian respondents felt that the indigenous community were very much conscious of their presence in Renfrewshire and this attracted unwanted attention.
 Respondents from all focus groups had faced or knew someone who had faced racism or racial discrimination from either the general public or from service providers. In most cases, the racism was ‘perceived’ rather than actual or real. However, most respondents did not view the perceived racism as being widespread.
 Although the majority of respondents had not heard of the ‘New Buddies Integration Network’, once the purpose behind the Network was explained, there was universal support from all groups and even offers to volunteer for the Network.
 Respondents believed that the success of the Network would depend upon the implementation of practical measures such as making new arrivals aware of local and community services, arranging social events including tours, and by adopting a collaborative and partnership approach involving work with established ethnic minority groups and places of religious worship.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherRenfrewshire Council
Commissioning bodyRenfrewshire Council
Number of pages40
Publication statusPublished - 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Ethnic Minority Voices: Perceptions of Life in Renfrewshire, Community Engagement and Service Provision'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this