News Article

Teaming Up With ACT and SMP and other regional projects

Last week we had the opportunity to host some special quests. Our guests were thrilled by our active classes in our Linguistic Society and later send us some information about their project.

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‘RIGHTS, EQUALITY & CITIZENSHIP’ PROGRAMME in the East of England

The East of England Local Government Association’s Strategic Migration Partnership (SMP) has attracted European Commission (EC) funding for two years following a successful application to the EC’s ‘Rights, Equality and Citizenship’ Programme.

The fundamental principles of this Programme are that all of us in Europe need to feel at ease when we live or travel in a Member State other than our own, and that we should be able to rely on access to justice throughout the EU.

The programme will focus on combatting discrimination, violence, and will support EU citizens in taking part in civic life, such as voting in local and EU elections.

‘ACTIVE CITIZENS TOGETHER’ PROJECT – networking for civic & community action

As part of this programme, the regional SMP will work in partnership with local agencies and organisations which support migrants, and others to run a new project called ‘ACT’ – ‘Active Citizens Together’ (ACT).

Beginning on 1st October 2015 for two years, the ACT Project will include the development of an entry level 2- 3 module for ‘English for Speakers of other Languages’ (ESOL) courses on the rights of mobile and naturalised EU migrants.

There will also be regular two-hour interactive workshops for EU migrants on opportunities to become active in civic and community life. Examples might include becoming a school governor or working with a voluntary organisation; joining an advice and guidance service; fundraising; becoming a magistrate; organising cultural and/or sporting events; helping with conservation projects.

Mentoring & maintaining active citizens

There are local councillors across the East of England with roots in other EU member states, reflecting the ethnic diversity of the region, so the ‘ACT’ project will also set up a mentoring programme through which those councillors wishing to support migrants in standing for public office, and/or undertaking other forms of active citizenship, will be able to do so.

A new ‘Active Citizens Together’ network will be set up in the region as part of the project, so as to help maintain this kind of targeted civic and political engagement work beyond the project itself. ACT- Active Citizens Together Project

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Project outcomes will be shared with eleven other Strategic Migration Partnerships and other UK and EU organisations wanting to increase the civic and political participation of mobile EU citizens.

Where will the ACT Project operate in the region?

The project will maximise its resources by focusing in on those selected parts of the East of England with larger or more concentrated groups of EU migrants, for example Bedfordshire (eg Bedford); Cambridgeshire (eg Cambridge and Wisbech); Hertfordshire; Norfolk (eg Great Yarmouth, Kings Lynn & Thetford); Peterborough; Suffolk (eg Ipswich)

A closer look - What will the ACT project deliver?

? The development of a new module at entry level 2-3 for ESOL tutors on the civic rights of EU citizens

? 8 ESOL tutors briefed about, and provided with the (above) module, along with supporting learning materials

? 200 ESOL class participants from EU countries study the (above) citizenship module, become more aware of their civic rights

? The development of two-hour interactive workshops featuring guest speakers with roots in other EU countries and positive experiences of undertaking community and civic activity

? 200 EU migrants participate in the (above) interactive workshops which will take place approximately monthly throughout the project

? The development of a mentoring programme comprising local councillors and others with roots in other EU countries, to support EU migrants wanting to take up roles such as Local Councillors; Special Constables; Patient Advocates; Advice & Guidance; Volunteering in community support networks

? The development of an ‘Active Citizens Together’ network, producing and disseminating quarterly newsletters on the project

? Hosting a conference for the (above) network members in the latter stages of the project to reflect on its achievements, and to identify ways for the network to continue to stimulate active citizenship amongst EU migrants into the future

If you are interested in becoming a member of the ACT Network, or would like to advise and guide our work on the project, please contact a member of the project team:

Louise Gooch e: louise.gooch@eelga.gov.uk t: 01284 758308

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

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