A councillor has hailed the launch of the new East Renfrewshire Equalities Forum.

The community-led group is bringing together people from diverse communities across the local authority, to share their perspectives and bring their experiences to link in with local decision-making.

Ultimately its aim is to give a voice to people who may not usually participate in public forums or decision-making in order to support communities to be well represented and heard.

Following the launch event in Newton Mearns’ Fairweather Hall last week, Cllr Chris Lunday told the Barrhead News: “I was very pleased to see a huge turnout at the launch event of the new equalities forum.

“I hope people continue to engage with this forum as it is crucial for us to listen to all members of our community to make sure we're getting things right for everyone.”

Charity Outside the Box, which provides development support to groups and people across Scotland who want to make a difference in their communities, was contracted by the local authority to establish the forum.

From September 2023 to May 2024, they worked with community groups, organisations, and service providers across East Renfrewshire to encourage and support local people to participate in the new forum.

The team visited community groups and organisations across the area to let them know about the new forum and engaged with more than 150 people.

Their role was to facilitate the creation of this group by encouraging and supporting people’s participation so that it is a community-led forum that decides its own purpose and agenda.

Three open days and two planning days were held as well as some online events to bring people together to discuss how a forum could work.

In a post on their Facebook page, a spokesperson for Outside the Box said: “Last week we celebrated the launch of the new East Renfrewshire Equalities Forum.

“It’s been brilliant chatting and engaging with people and groups from across the local authority these last six months.

"We can’t wait to see where the new community-led forum goes next."

Along with residents from diverse backgrounds, there are a number of community groups represented in the forum including Barrhead charity Include Me 2 Club and representatives from local community councils.

“I look forward to attending meetings of the forum in the future and I know that this will be a great thing for the area,” added Cllr Lunday who represents Barrhead, Liboside and Uplawmoor.

“Credit needs to go to Outside the Box for their fantastic work in bringing so many people together."

For more information on the Forum please contact listening@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk.