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Leeds secures funding to help new migrants access services

Leeds Town Hall, Leeds.

Leeds City Council has secured £249,000 in funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) to deliver a project aiming to help new migrants access local services.

The Community Connector programme will work directly with families in priority neighbourhoods to help people looking to access training, skills and educational opportunities in Leeds.

It is hoped that the programme, funded by the HCLG’s £100m Controlling Migration Fund, will help new migrants continue their personal development and build wider awareness of these services in local communities.

The programme is expected to play an important role in reducing the number of people going to the wrong service in Leeds or receiving no support at all.

Cllr Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for communities, said: ‘This is really good news for Leeds and is further recognition I believe of the work that is currently being undertaken in our communities.

‘We want to ensure that everyone living in our city, including those new to Leeds, has the support and information that they need to access services and find out more about the wide-ranging opportunities that are available.

‘This grant funding will strengthen this work further, and help continue our journey to be the Best City for Communities by building on our established Eurocities award-winning Migrant Access Project that is internationally recognised.’

The Community Connector project will build on work already being undertaken in Leeds to help new communities access services and allow them to be better informed about how local systems and processes work.

In 2016, the Leeds Migrant Access Project (MAP) received the EuroCities ‘Participation’ Award for its work in promoting community cohesion and empowering new communities to support themselves using their existing skills and knowledge.

The council has since built on the MAP programme by introducing the MAP ‘Plus’ project, which uses volunteers and community drop-ins to bring new migrant and settled communities together. The project ran until June 2019.

The introduction of the Community Connector project follows the publication of a report which found that helping migrants get jobs they are qualified for could help their integration and benefit the UK’s economy.

The report published last month by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) found that fully integrating migrants into the labour market would increase wages and productivity and help build public consent for migration in communities.

According to the report, English language proficiency is one of the biggest barriers to migrants being fully integrated into the labour market, while funding for English language (ESOL) courses has fallen by over half since 2010.

Photo Credit – Jules Li

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