£600,000 for Fenland to tackle private sector housing enforcement, expand Wisbech night shelter, tackle rough sleeping and boost work of Rosmini Centre

PUBLISHED: 11:57 15 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:57 15 July 2019

Rosmini Centre: It has received a significant cash boost to expand its services thanks to a grant application made by Fenland Council to a Government fund. Picture' ARCHANT

Rosmini Centre: It has received a significant cash boost to expand its services thanks to a grant application made by Fenland Council to a Government fund. Picture' ARCHANT

Archant

Clamping down on private sector housing abuse in March, supporting the Roma community, helping with immigration issues and expanding Wisbech night shelter will be possible thanks to £600,000 of Government funding.

A total of £632,062 has been secured by Fenland District Council to advance and extend five existing Controlling Migration Fund (CMF) projects and get three new ones off the ground.

The council says the bids demonstrate how previous CMF funding has delivered rapid results in Fenland "and made a real difference to people's lives".

Fenland Council says the funding will enable them to work with others to tackle migration issues from all angles, with projects focusing on enforcement, pastoral care, cohesion and integration.

Initiatives under way include the Parallel Lives Project to improve education prospects for the Roma community.

On enforcement the council has used previous funding to tackle private housing issues in Wisbech and this will now extend to March.

Over £115,000 is going to the Rosmini Centre, Wisbech, for a new outreach service for migrants.

The Government says the centre has already engaged with 6,000 people and provides essential information and guidance across Fenland.

"However, the centre has seen growing numbers of established community members asking for help due to lack of available appointments with other organisations, changes to welfare reforms and lack of public transport," said a Government spokesman.

"This projects aims to provide an outreach service that will primarily aim to support and promote independence for members of settled communities."

Also included is £136,000 to tackle migrant rough sleepers and those with complex needed.

The Government spokesman said: "Chronic addiction, dual diagnosis, and entrenched lifestyles in rough sleeping, are on the increase in the area.

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"This cohort requires a different approach, using multi team expertise and one to one support. Migrant rough sleepers can quickly become entrenched.

"The project wishes to pilot a specialist approach to achieve positive outcomes. The project will collate information to assist with exploitation and other forms of modern day slavery as part of Operation Pheasant."

A new £45,000 project, Wellies in the Woods, will use outdoor play areas "to help build and develop cohesion and relationships across the town".

And a new project will help to tackle obesity, social isolation, poverty, poor integration and lack of community cohesion. Surplus food from local growers will be used locally and distributed to those in need.

There is also a new initiative with King's Lynn and West Norfolk Council where by working together both councils will step up multi-lingual information to ensure people are aware of their rights and responsibilities in the UK.

Fenland Council also has the cash to expand the Wisbech emergency night shelter, which had previously won funding to expand by four beds to 14 and employ extra support staff. The new funding means this can be stepped up.

The Government spokesman said: "Fenland council is receiving ongoing funding to support the continued operation of Wisbech emergency night shelter which helps people to find more settled housing, employment and training and to access medical services more efficiently.

"The fund has already supported an additional four beds at the shelter. This has reduced pressures on local services and community tension in the area with 84 per cent of the clients not returning to the streets in 2016/17, rising to 86.4 per cent in 2017/18."

There is also £280,000 to extend an alcohol and drug support project in Wisbech and Peterborough.

Cllr Chris Seaton, cabinet member for community cohesion, said: "We are proud to be such a diverse district, and know that migrants can offer so much in terms of jobs and skills, but we need to ensure they have the opportunities and support available to make positive contributions to their communities."

Communities Minister Lord Bourne said: "Whether it's tackling rogue landlords who exploit vulnerable migrants, helping new arrivals learn English or supporting care leavers to access education, the Controlling Migration Fund is delivering results across the country and providing services for the benefit of all.

"Each community is unique in the challenges it faces, but the projects we've funded have shown that positive change is possible when people come together and think innovatively about how to support the whole community."

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