A POPULAR group supporting ethnic newcomers to the city has folded because of a lack of management support.

The One World Rainbow Social Group, set up and voluntarily run by Jean Kennedy, has shut down after two years, because there was no one to take over, when she moves to Lancashire in the spring.

"It was a shock when Jean e-mailed me saying the club had shut - it was doing very positive work," said Malik Fayaz, who has attended the annual group gatherings.

"It was bringing various communities in Worcester together, and it's horrible to know it has closed."

He said the club allowed newcomers to meet others in a similar position, and gain advice about the city.

"It was a venue giving people the confidence to learn more about Worcester - something which can be difficult because of the language barrier," he said.

As well as the annual meeting - usually attended by more than 100 people from dozens of countries, the group offered weekly access to English and computer lessons, and information about adapting to Worcester life.

The meetings were usually held at the Fairfield Centre, Fairfield Close, Brickfields.

Jean Kennedy said people talked of their support, but when it came to showing commitment, they were more reticent.

"The club's been put to sleep," she said.

"It needs people to own it. People have individually said they want to support the group, but when it comes down to having the meetings, people don't seem to turn up. It's trying to get them to commit that is the hard part."

She said the group was unique in offering a friendly environment where people could swap experiences, advice, and obtain information about accommodation, employment opportunities, and healthcare services. It also acted as a link between newcomers and specialist organisations like Ethnic Access, a translator service.

"I would love to see someone take up the baton and run with it - it possibly needs a paid post to co-ordinate all the representatives and conduct a survey of ethnic people in Worcester and find out exactly what they need," she added.

Nazrul Haque, from the Racial Equality Council and a former co-ordinator of the group said he was working to raise money to kick-start the group.

"At the moment, the pot is really empty, and the council can't help.

"I'm trying to get some funding for the group because it was very good at bringing the community together," he said.