Bringing people and cultures together
To create and develop an Intercultural York; a city where people from different cultures and countries feel valued members of society, where diversity is embraced and difference is celebrated. To develop relationships beyond national identities and cultures – we bring people together.
YUMI works with people who’ve come to live in York from all over the world, bringing people and cultures together.
We provide support, organise community events, learning programmes, link and connections on a range of projects – so that people can get to know to each other, share their traditions, make the most of and increase their skills, and take on roles and responsibilities in the community. Our projects connect people who are local with people who’ve come from all over the world, so we’re open to everyone. Every project is intercultural.
Our work stems from the findings of detailed research that we, and other organisations, have undertaken:
We conducted detailed research (2012) with 40 BME participants. Their most important stated need was ‘feeling a valued member of the community’.
Independent evaluations we have undertaken demonstrate overwhelmingly that participants from BME communities want to feel more connected to the local community, and need support to help them achieve this (Evaluations: Festival 2005, ‘06, ‘08, ‘10 and ‘13; Open Day 2011 and ‘12; Photography Project 2011).
The need is increasing rapidly: 2011 census figures show York’s BME population increased from 4.9% (2001) to 11.4% (2009) – that represents over 21,000 people!
The complexity is increasing: Joseph Rowntree Foundation research (2010) found that people from 92 ethnic minority groups live in this small city, speaking over 78 languages, despite its reputation as a ‘white’, monocultural city.
YUMI tackles these issues through its projects, training programmes, support and activities; taking a lead in York in connecting people from a broad range of ethnic backgrounds, delivering participant-led, intercultural projects at grass-roots level and tackling the causes of isolation, and loneliness.
Through our activities, people are encouraged to connect, share ideas and take a lead in developing projects, and through these activities we ensure they receive the support to learn, practice and develop in many other ways: to increase confidence, language and communication skills, understanding of life in the UK, personal pride in their culture and traditions, pride in their achievements, friendships and a sense of greater belonging to the local community. This is crucial for understanding how YUMI operates and how it achieves its outcomes, because these are as important as the activities themselves, and is where the main focus of our activities lies.
Local people who engage in our activities and come to our events, experience and learn about the traditions and customs of people who lead their lives in very different ways from their own, and have opportunities to engage with them through a range of informal activities.
We’re ambitious: Our vision is of a York that’s integrated and connected – a rich and vibrant city as a result of empowered and involved communities.
We believe everyone can contribute. Our focus is on people and our processes, rather than just on ‘outputs’. Everyone has the chance to be involved in creating and developing projects from the beginning, so everyone can have their say as well as listen, negotiate and influence how things develop. This is really important to us. We also evaluate our projects very carefully so that we can really find out if what we do is working – and they show that it does!
We’re arts-based, and have led and collaborated in over 35 very different projects since we began, involving people from over 50 cultural backgrounds.
We care about our planet. Everything we use in all our projects is sourced carefully, so we minimize impact wherever and whenever possible.