Fenland District Council has secured a further share of government funding aimed at supporting local areas facing pressures linked to recent migration.
More than £600,000 has been received from the Controlling Migration Fund (CMF) after the council submitted a number of bids to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
The bids stated previous CMF funding haad made a real difference to people’s lives in Fenland, and outlined how new funding would further support communities in coming together to address local challenges.
The funding will help the council and its partners to tackle migration issues from all angles, with projects focusing on enforcement, pastoral care, cohesion and integration, as well as research to enable to authority to prepare and adapt to future challenges.
A total of £632,062 has been secured to advance and extend five existing CMF projects and get three new ones off the ground. They are:
. Private Sector Housing Enforcement – extending the current CMF funded project in Wisbech, additional funding will be used to address private rented sector issues in and around March, as well as to raise awareness of employers’ social responsibility across Fenland.
. Parallel Lives Project – extending the existing project with the Roma community, the most vulnerable migrant group across the East of England, funding will be used to provide public sector professionals with Roma-specific safeguarding training designed to enhance their knowledge of the community. It will also be used to produce sustainable educational materials on safeguarding issues and how to manage them effectively.
. Supporting Independence – helping the Rosmini Centre in Wisbech support growing numbers of people from settled communities with a new outreach service, while providing additional resources to support people from migrant communities through an existing Information Advice and Guidance (IAG) service.
. Wellies in the Woods – an innovative, new project that uses outdoor play in community parks and green spaces to help build and develop cohesion and relationships across the town. Working with children’s centres, parents’ forums, community groups, local early years professionals and families, Wellies in the Woods will help families develop stronger relationships and create opportunities for wider engagement across different communities with added benefits of addressing language barriers, confidence and physical and mental health issues.
. Community FairShare Project – building on the CMF project ‘Grow It, Cook It, Share It, Compare It’, Community FairShare aims to tackle wider issues such as obesity, social isolation, poverty, poor integration and lack of community cohesion. The project will use food, and the redistribution of surplus food from local growers, distributors and suppliers, as a conduit to bring different nationalities together in a safe environment where they can learn from each other about how to prepare and cook food from their cultures.
Migrant Outreach Service: Complex Needs – extending the current CMF outreach service project, the new funding will pilot a specialist approach to supporting migrant rough sleepers with complex health needs, who require multi-disciplinary expertise and more one-to-one support.
. Cohesive Communities Project – working in partnership with King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council, this new project will provide migrants with multi-lingual information and guidance to raise awareness of their rights and responsibilities in the UK, and work with schools, agencies and organisations to deliver diversity work and cultural sensitivities training to dispel myths and improve future engagement.
. Wisbech Emergency Night Shelter Expansion – previous CMF funding enabled the night shelter to expand by four beds, to 14 beds, and employ two additional members of staff to support both local and migrant rough sleepers. New funding will enable the increased level of support to be provided to new migrant communities coming to Wisbech.
More than £280,000 of CMF funding was also secured to extend an alcohol and drug support project in Wisbech and Peterborough, provided by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough public health team.
Cllr Samantha Hoy, Fenland District Council’s portfolio holder for housing, said: “We have already seen how previous funding from the Controlling Migration Fund has helped deliver some fantastic work in Fenland and made a real difference to the communities we serve, so I’m delighted our staff have successfully bid for further funding.
“It means we can expand our private sector enforcement work and improve housing conditions across the district, further improve provision for rough sleepers and deliver tailored, multi-agency support to those with complex needs.
“And as well as helping us to tackle these quality of life issues and deliver better outcomes, the funding will also help us to plan ahead and prepare for future challenges and uncertainties.”
Cllr Chris Seaton, Fenland District Council’s portfolio holder responsible for community cohesion, said: “This new funding recognises the work that is already taking place in Fenland to establish more cohesive, resilient and settled communities.
“We are proud to be such a diverse district, and know that migrants can offer so much in terms of jobs and skills, but we need to ensure they have the opportunities and support available to make positive contributions to their communities.
“This funding means we can further develop existing opportunities and work with our partners to create new ones, encouraging even wider engagement and integration across the community. It will also help us to tackle issues that exist between different communities, reduce pressure on local services and carry out research so that we’re in a better position to respond to future needs.”