Help at hand for migrants

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MIGRANTS are being offered a helping hand to integrate into the community, thanks to the launch of an outreach programme by Derbyshire police.

A collection of ten information booklets - covering everything from accomodation and customs to healthcare and travel - have been published under the scheme, which aims to encourage migrant workers to settle into life in the county.

Emma Todd, one of two outreach officers appointed to spearhead the project, said:

“We want to ensure migrant communities know all of the services available to them, and help them to break down the language barriers. The leaflets are full of information, but the key is the contact numbers at the back of each leaflet, so we can get them directly accessing services themselves.

“It is all about getting them to integrate.”

But the head of the force’s community safety department, chief inspector Brian McKeown, stressed the outreach programme also aims to educate the locals about migrants coming into the area.

He said “The message we want to give to migrant workers is ‘We want to make you welcome and we want you to understand the UK customs and laws’.

“But we also need to educate the people who live here. The whole idea is to make the communities more cohesive and more understanding.”

With 70% of Derbyshire migrants coming from Poland, the booklets have been printed in both English and Polish, and 5000 have been distributed across the region, at a cost of £2,200.

Funding for the project - which aims to help the estimated 4000 migrant workers in Derbyshire - has come from the East Midlands Development Agency.

The information packs, which include leaflets on children and education, accommodation, currency, Derbyshire constabulary, driving and travel, emergency services, employment and work, healthcare, local council and UK residency are available by calling 0345 123 3333. ellie.hunter@derbyshiretimes.co.uk