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Equality categories

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We use a number of equality categories in our forms and guidance and we’re sometimes asked what our equality categories mean. Here’s an explanation of the main ones we’re asked about.

You can also Download the full list here.


We use the definition from the Equality Act 2010, which defines a disabled person as someone who has a mental or physical impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.


Ethnic background

The list of ethnic backgrounds we use is taken from the 2011 Census. Remember that everyone has an ethnic background.


White English/Scottish/Welsh/Northern Irish/UK

This refers to people defined as White and born in the UK or of UK origin.We anticipate that many projects will mostly benefit people of this ethnic background.



This means Irish people living in Great Britain.


Gypsy or Irish Traveller background 

Gypsies and Irish Travellers are both recognised as distinct ethnic groups in the UK. This distinguishes them from other Travellers (for example New Travellers).


Any other White background 

This refers to people defined as White and with origins outside the UK, for example, European, Australian, South African or American.


Mixed ethnic background 

This refers to people whose parents are of a different ethnic background to each other.


Any other Asian background 

This includes people of Asian origin whose families settled in Africa or the Caribbean, as well as people of Sri Lankan, Nepali and Afghan origin.


Any other Black/African/Caribbean background 

This includes people of Black origin born in the UK, Europe, Asia, North or South America, Africa, Caribbean and West Indies.



This refers to people whose language is Arabic and who have origins in the ‘Arab World’ - Arabic speaking countries, across West Asia and North Africa.


Any other ethnic group 

This includes people with origins in Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, the Middle East.


Religion or belief 

The list of religions or beliefs is taken from the 2011 Census.


No religion 

This means people without any religious affiliation.


Welsh language 

For projects in Wales, whether people speak Welsh.


Community background 

For projects in Northern Ireland, whether people are part of the Protestant or Catholic community, or neither.


Caring responsibility

We sometimes ask whether people have caring responsibility for someone else, for example another family member.