Race – ethnicity, national origins, race or colour

young girl's face smilingWhile the number of ethnic minority people in Devon has grown in recent years, the numbers are still relatively low and fluctuate with patterns in migration (although it must be stressed that not all ethnic minority people are recent migrants or have parents who were migrants).

Sometimes decisions can be made, and actions taken, which unintentionally affect certain groups of people in a negative way, this is often because of a lack of understanding of the needs and aspirations of minority communities, sometimes resulting from prejudice and stereotyping. The result may lead to a lack of opportunity, difficulty in accessing services or a failure to have a need identified. This was the main finding of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry which changed the shape of equality law and defined ‘institutional racism’.

We want to avoid institutional racism alongside all forms of institutional discrimination. Our community is becoming increasingly diverse and like other public authorities, we are here to serve all the people of Devon – from all cultures, national and ethnic backgrounds.

We supported the setting up of Grapevine – an online social networking and consultation opportunity for people from different cultures living in Devon (although no longer running, it brought many people together and particularly helped with English Language support). The Council also has a dedicated Gypsy and Traveller Liason Service.

There is now a new on-going opportunity for social workers who identify as being from a Black or Minority Ethnic Group (BME) to discuss and share experiences. The South West Peninsula BME Social Worker Group is a regional BME networking group for local authority social workers across the South West including Plymouth, Torbay, Cornwall and Devon.

We have also supported Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children


  • Top languages in Devon

    The languages in most demand for translation/interpreting in the Devon County Council area for 2016/17 have been:

    • Polish
    • Mandarin/Cantonese
    • Arabic
    • Bengali
    • Lithuanian
    • Romanian
    • Russian
    • Sorani Kurdish
    • Turkish
    • Vietnamese
    • Bulgarian
    • Amharic/Tigrinya*
    • Farsi
    • Dari
    • Oromo

    However, demand for interpreting could reflect a large volume of conversations with one person or family, not necessarily a large number of people. Sometimes we need to write to or speak to family members in other countries so the list doesn’t always reflect people living here.

     *there has been an increase in these languages due to the arrival of asylum seeking children.

    The picture in schools is a little different. Polish, Romanian and Arabic remain the ‘top three’ and there are 226 pupils with 31 languages being supported through the Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service. This includes many European languages but also others (not already listed above) including Malayalam, Korean, Japanese, Punjabi, Thai, Hebrew, Nepalese and Urdu.