Roma project

FENLAND DSTRICT COUNCIL: PRESS RELEASE

Roma project will ease pressure on resident communities and services

A catalyst to integrate one of the most vulnerable and misunderstood migrant communities in the region has been launched thanks to more than £150,000 of government funding.

Fenland District Council has received a grant from the Department of Communities and Local Government’s Controlling Migration Fund (CMF) to deliver a project aimed at the East of England’s Roma community.

The Parallel Lives Project will not only help to ease pressures on local services as a result of Romani migration, but will also tackle chronic discrimination against the community and help to establish a more cohesive and mutually respectful environment.

Working in partnership with the East of England Strategic Migration Partnership (SMP), the Council will deliver the two-year project in two phases.

Firstly it will gather data and local intelligence on Roma communities. Research has shown Roma to be disproportionately affected by poverty and discriminated against in employment, education and health care, and by other local communities – both resident and other migrant. In many instances they live ‘parallel lives’, at a distance from other groups.

The project will also identify the key pressures on local services and the impact that has on resident communities, before developing solutions to the issues in phase two.

The solutions will depend on the outcome of the first phase, although project leaders anticipate that a minimum of six Roma community champions will be identified to work in each part of the region with the highest concentration of Roma people – Fenland, Great Yarmouth, Ipswich, Luton, Peterborough and Southend.

Roma cultural competence training will also be developed and rolled out, and workshops held to bring Roma people together with frontline services.

Councillor Mike Cornwell, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Communities, said: “By engaging with Roma people, and bringing them closer to local services and service providers, this project will be a catalyst for Roma integration across the region’s most highly pressurised areas of inward migration.”

“The longer-term gain for the established community is a more cohesive environment where all residents are encouraged and enabled to co-exist harmoniously, rather than living lives which can induce mistrust, exclusion and the socio-economic costs of racial violence.”