Touchstone Community Development Service (CDS) in partnership with Leeds City Council Migration Partnership have recently completed training with 26 volunteers from 15 different countries, for the Migrant Access Project. The Migrant Access Project is a way of reducing pressure on public services where migration has impacted the most. Volunteers, known as ‘Migrant Community Networkers’, who collectively speak 27 different languages, were equipped with up to date information to help access Leeds services, essential for settling into UK life.
The training provides volunteers with the skills and knowledge to help newer migrants quickly adjust to life in Leeds by providing information on a range of essential services such as housing, employment, education, housing, social services, police, health, domestic violence and hate crime. The training is delivered in partnership with many city-wide organisations in the public and voluntary sectors, however Touchstone CDS is the main facilitator over the duration of the course. The volunteers are then supported to pass on information to their communities in mother tongue so migrants and new arrivals can access the right service, first time. Volunteers showed tremendous commitment partaking in a training course lasting from January to June 2014.
A special celebration event at the Civic Hall acknowledged their achievements and the volunteers were presented with certificates by the Lord and Lady Mayoress. Councillor Ghulam Hussain, lead Member for Communities, said: “Leeds has a rich multicultural heritage with many new arrivals contributing to the economic, social and cultural life of the city. The Migrant Access project is a great way for those who have already made links in Leeds to help others”.
Samantha Powell – Community Development Service