Representatives from the public, private and the voluntary sector met yesterday (Wednesday 24 October) to set out plans to encourage integration of newly arrived communities in Coventry.
Coventry successfully bid for funding as part of the national Building Bridges project – a two year scheme backed by the government.
Partner organisations across Coventry – including Church of Assisi, Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, Positive Youth Foundation, Foleshill Women’s Training and West Midlands Police met at Blue Old Coat School to explain more about the initiative.
The priority of the project is to bring all communities together by supporting, participating and investing on the skills, the assets and the cultural background that each individual has.
The project focuses on developing and improving skills by:
- providing intensive ESOL classes for employability; and implementing ‘Information, Advice and Guidance Sessions’ on topics such as education, housing, mental health, and equality – open for the whole community.
- creating ‘School Aid Hubs’ to provide intensive support for new arrivals and help them to adapt to their new school environment, and ‘Community Aids Hubs’ to bring together young host and migrant communities whilst also developing their interpersonal and vocational skills. Youth Forums will be generated from the aid hubs in order to promote community cohesion and integration of newly arrived young people.
- setting up a new volunteer programme and building a network for long- term volunteer placements.
- launching a letting agency to work with local landlords and help migrants and refugees find private accommodation that can enable them to build a home for the future.
Mandy Sanghera, manager of the project said: “Coventry is a city which has been defined and continues to be defined by welcoming newcomers with open arms. By bringing communities together and Building Bridges through integration and community cohesion, we hope to continue this legacy.”
Cllr Abdul Salam Khan, Deputy Leader, Coventry City Council, added: “I was really pleased when we secured the funding for this project. Community relations in Coventry are excellent, and I hope that the scheme makes a big impact on the new and existing communities in the city.
“Over the years we have welcomed people from throughout other parts of the country, and the world, who have played a part in the economic growth and wellbeing of the city. It’s something that makes us stand out – and something we should be proud of.”