WYCOMBE'S African Caribbean community should get its own development officer next year to fight its cause.

Community leaders have been pressing for the appointment for some time, holding their own presentations and turning up to council meetings to make the point.

At last week's full meeting of Wycombe District Council, Bert Reid, a member of the community, said: "There has been a real groundswell in the community."

Deputy council leader Tony Green agreed that the plan, supported by Wycombe Racial Equality Council, had been around for some time. It had been put off for a community needs appraisal, which had shown the job was justified.

Last Wednesday, the council's cabinet agreed to put in £15,000 a year for the next three years towards the £29,000 annual costs.

Afterwards Mr Reid said: "We got a result that is the bottom line. We must get things done in the community."

He said the African Caribbean community was at the bottom of the heap, socially and economically. Since the 1950s when they were tight-knit and everyone knew each other because they all came to Wycombe together, the community had become more individualistic.

"We need someone to galvanise us, bring us together and take up our cause," Mr Reid added.

Education and health were big issues he said.

"You've a gut feeling about these things but need the evidence and the new worker will be able to find the information to present to people," Mr Reid said.

The council says a lot of the work needs to be done concerning health and education, so other agencies should find the remaining £14,000.

Cllr Green said he wanted other authorities with responsibility to commit themselves, as well as the district council.

Some councillors expressed concern as to what would happen if the £14,000 was not raised, but Cllr Green said he thought it would be.