‘Active Citizens Together’ (ACT) Project

30th March 2016

The Strategic Migration Partnership’s ‘Active Citizens Together’ (ACT) Project is now completing its sixth month, with funding from the EU until September 2017 to encourage mobile European citizens to participate in civic life here in the East of England.

Since the project began last October, we have run workshops on this broad topic for European migrants in Wisbech, Peterborough, Great Yarmouth and Ipswich. Workshops begin with reflections about what the participants think of life here. On the positive side they generally say, for example that they find people here polite, and that there are more opportunities. Not so good are neighbour disputes, litter, drugs and alcohol.

Our challenge through these workshops is to get the participants thinking about what they can do to make a positive difference by giving some of their time up for unpaid communal activities - “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

Of course, this is difficult for people who have primarily migrated here for work, but so far most of our workshop participants have demonstrated a real enthusiasm for this. They see that improving where they live also improves their quality of life, and that undertaking voluntary activity is sociable, enhances job prospects and helps improve English.

We have also begun to set up a mentoring programme, to help those participants who have a clear idea of what they would like to do as an active citizen.

We are particularly looking for local government councillors who have roots in other EU Member States to act as mentors to European migrants who are thinking about becoming councillors themselves.

If you know anyone who might be interested, or to find out more about the ACT Project, please contact a member of the ACT Project Team:
Sue Hay e: sue.hay@eelga. gov.uk m: 07920 257964
Rachel Heathcock e: Rachel.heathcock@eelga.gov.uk t: 01284 758311
Gosia Strona e: Malgorzata.strona@eelga.gov.uk t: 01284 758324
Louise Gooch e: louise.gooch@eelga.gov.uk t: 01284 758308

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