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Joint projects receive migration funding

Two projects aiming to reduce the impact of recent migration on communities in Fenland can go ahead thanks to a share of a new government fund.

Community Projects

Fenland District Council will use the Controlling Migration Fund (CMF) grants to tackle a street drinking culture in Wisbech, and improve migrants' understanding of key public services by providing more accessible information through social media.

The joint projects with Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council received £226,000 and £94,000 respectively, with the money being shared between the authorities to address the problems in their area.

The grants are part of the first allocation from the CMF, which intends to ease pressure on public services resulting from recent migration. The council also received £86,400 from the fund to launch a Migrant Outreach Service to address migrant homelessness in the district, and £89,657 for its community cohesion project 'Grow it, Cook it, Share it, Compare it', which aims to bring different nationalities together through a shared love of food.

Fenland's street drinking project will be delivered and overseen by the Wisbech Alcohol Project Steering Group. Supported through the creation of two new EU speaking Alcohol Outreach Recovery Workers, it aims to mitigate the impact of migrant alcohol misuse on local people and reduce alcohol-related crime and litter. The workers will also support the street drinkers and help them to access specialist health interventions.

The social media project aims to address a growing need for migrants to better understand public services and to improve their access and appropriate use.

A package of migrant and local resident information, advice and guidance resources will be developed, and social media and video will be utilised to convey messages in English, Lithuanian and Polish.

Councillor David Oliver, Fenland District Council's Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, said: "Whilst we know that migration to Fenland has brought a number of benefits to our district, particularly new skills and jobs, we also know that it has placed pressures on public services and created community tensions.

"This funding will help us to address these tensions and reduce the impact they have having on local people. It will also reduce the pressure and cost placed on services including doctors' surgeries, police and the council for the benefit of all our residents."

Both Fenland and Cambridgeshire as a whole have seen rapid growth in migrant population over the last 10-15 years and are some of the fastest growing areas of the country.

Announcing the CMF funding, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: "Migration brings great benefits to this country but, in some places, significant population changes in a short space of time have put pressures on public services. This new funding will help councils rise to the challenge in a variety of ways."

Article added: July 26, 2017