EUROPIA is a registered charity (No 1161453) that organises outreach projects with the help of Community Development workers and local contacts and agencies in order to increase opportunities for local Eastern European residents in Wythenshawe especially the Woodhouse Park and Benchill areas. One of the main aims is to support the community by providing a smooth transition and full integration into a fulfilled British culture and life but at the same time keeping the cultural practices.
The arrival of Central and Eastern European migrant communities into Wythenshawe and other areas of Greater Manchester has placed extra demand on public services as well as changing the demographic make–up of communities. While there is general awareness on the part of public services of significant in-migration, often into deprived urban locations, and statistical evidence of such migration from governmental recording schemes, there is limited data on the specific areas of residence and the breakdown by age, gender and household type of these new arrivals. There is also a lack of awareness of their particular needs with regard to core areas of public service delivery (health, education, community safety, etc.) and how services can adequately respond to meet these. Finally, there is a knowledge gap in relation to the people’s future intentions.
However, we at Europia intend to make things clearer by conducting consultations, outreach work, surveys and events in order to determine what the needs of the Polish and Eastern European communities living in the Woodhouse Park and Benchill areas are and how to assist them directly or liaising with other organisations to help.
The main issue for any migrant in a new country is the language barrier and this remains an issue for migrant communities. As we all know, having little or no knowledge of a language simply means having no voice. Migrant communities themselves need to be encouraged to access English language courses but also to continue with courses once they have enrolled, with more emphasis placed on the importance of acquisition of English language. In order to do so, however, there is a need to look at flexible learning opportunities.
We at Europia and friends of Europia see a bright future in our organisation. We plan to include not only Polish or Eastern European residents of the area but also Central European residents and organisations as well for a healthy and balanced cultural exchange. This will be done through carefully planned community consultations which will be in the form of survey’s , focus groups, interviews and community consultation events including outreach at key venue’s like Church, Saturday schools, etc. We are currently accessing First Steps training including Leadership training to up skill ourselves on how to effectively conduct public consultations.
Find out more about our funded project called First Steps