An organisation has been set up to help people from black and ethnic minority communities who run businesses.

The Ethnic Business Partnership brings together Wealden District Council and Sompriti, a voluntary organisation which works with minority groups in East Sussex.

Bilingual Sompriti workers will act as translators on behalf of the council where necessary.

The partnership ran its first event last week with a seminar on the recent changes in licensing laws for restaurants and shops.

Sompriti representatives translated for Chinese and Bangladeshi restaurateurs important information on how licences are now administered by the council rather than magistrates.

Chi Ling Lan, Sompriti's Chinese support officer, said: "It was certainly a successful event.

"The people who attended were keen to have more involvement."

Anyone who would like to become involved or attend future partnership meetings should contact Gail Fenn at Wealden council on 01323 443276 or Sompriti on 01273 477550.

Sompriti, which takes its name from a Bengali word meaning peace, collaboration and harmony, also has a racist incident reporting line on 01273 474809.

April 22, 2001