A project to bring communities together and help people connect with their neighbours has been launched in South Leeds.
Local people will be put at the heart of the project, Migrant Access Project Plus (MAP+), which has started in Holbeck before being rolled out to other parts of Leeds next year.
Local residents are invited to help shape their community and will be given training and tools to help them work together to make their areas great places to live. The project aims to enhance community capacity and resilience, and reduce transitional pressures of migration on local public services.
People can get involved in a variety of ways including attending weekly friendly drop-ins at local venues to meet their neighbours, share ideas and information about their area; and buddying up or befriending a migrant who is new to the area, to help them settle into life in Leeds and find their way around local services.
There are also two initiatives open to residents who have settled in the area from other countries and can speak another language, to help migrants in the area use services appropriately. Migrant Community Networkers will play an active role in the community, bringing people together and helping them have a voice, for example by helping set up social groups or by feeding back issues affecting local people to relevant authorities. Migrant Community Health Educators will work with GP practices to help new migrants use health services, for example by providing support around appointments or raising awareness on key health issues.
MAP+ is being delivered by Beeston-based charity Touchstone in partnership with Feel Good Factor and Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network. The project is commissioned by Leeds City Council with funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Alison Lowe, Chief Executive of Touchstone, said:
“We are really excited to be working on this project with people in Holbeck, Beeston Hill, Armley and New Wortley. We know there are lots of people – whether they have lived in the area for a long time or are new – who have a wide range of experience, skills, passions and interests. By bringing people together to share these, we hope communities will become stronger and more connected, and people will be able to live happier and healthier lives. If you’re interested to find out more or get involved we’d love to hear from you.”