A petition launched to save diversity charity Creative Access from closure has secured more than 2,100 signatures since it was started on Tuesday (13th December), including from many high-profile industry figures.
Earlier this week, The Bookseller reported that the government had withdrawn more than £2m worth of funding from Creative Access, a charity which secures internships for black, asian and minority ethnic (BAME) candidates in the creative industries. Founded in 2012, the charity has placed more than 700 interns with over 270 companies. Around 112 interns have been placed within the publishing industry.
Started by journalist William Njobvu, the petition has garnered support from 2,116 people including authors Nikesh Shukla and Cathy Rentzenbrink and Curtis Brown joint c.e.o. Jonny Geller. Publishers including Unbound and Hachette have also backed the petition via their Twitter accounts.
Writing on the fundraising page Njobvu said: “Diversity charity Creative Access is facing closure after the government withdrew more than £2m of funding for its paid BAME internship programmes. This is terrible news as hundreds, if not thousands, of people from diverse backgrounds have been placed in internships in companies they may have never worked for if it wasn't for Creative Access.
"There's a worrying lack of diversity in a majority of newsrooms and media organisations in Britain and Creative Access is the only organisation who have worked incredibly hard to tackle this. Please sign this petition to show Theresa May how important it is to have charities like Creative Access around. This petition isn't just for people of colour, it's for people of all backgrounds to support a positive movement, that is now being destroyed by the government.”
Jonny Geller tweeted: “Beyond belief that Creative Access is under threat when diversity is THE issue in creative industries. Do sign!”
Yassine Belkacemi, publicity manager at John Murray Press, said: “I’m apoplectic about the government's decision to withdraw funding from Creative Access - 700 interns placed with an 80+% stay-on rate. So why on earth is such a successful scheme then considered worthy of having its funding slashed? This stifling of progress is incredibly frustrating.
"Creative Access helped me get a start in British publishing, along with a number of my colleagues. Yes, publishers are implementing diversity schemes but it will be a while before we have the effect that Creative Access has. We still need them now!”
Wei Ming Kam, co-founder of BAME in Publishing, tweeted: “Please sign and share, Creative Access have done so much to support so many young POC in the creative industries”.
Creative Access c.e.o. Josie Dobrin told The Bookseller that the charity was looking at different options going forward and is hopeful that the creative industries will lend its support.
"There’s a lot of goodwill towards Creative Access", Dobrin said. "We have helped open doors that have been traditionally closed in these industries. We’ve worked with over 270 companies to place over 700 interns and have good relationships with them. It’s now its a question on collaborating to find a solution."
She added: "Whatever happens, we’re proud of what we’ve achieved. Creative Access has been a real catalyst for change in the creative industries. We hope can find a way to continue making a difference."
The completed petition will be delivered to prime minister Theresa May.