Parallel Lives Roma Project

From the beginning of October 2017, the Strategic Migration Partnership (SMP) will be working in partnership with Fenland District Council to deliver a unique project, seeking to integrate the East of England’s Roma community.

Fenland has received funding for the ‘Parallel Lives’ project from the Department of Communities and Local Government’s Controlling Migration Fund.

This two-year project will seek to ease pressures on local services, tackle chronic discrimination against Roma people, and help to establish a more cohesive and mutually respectful environment.

The SMP hosted a regional Roma conference in 2013, attended by frontline staff working with Roma families, which provided useful insights into the geographical location and needs of these groups. Building on the conference outcomes, the SMP Parallel Lives Team will carry out a new data and local intelligence gathering exercise on Roma communities, looking at education, employment, healthcare, poverty and discrimination in particular. They will also explore pressures on local services and resident communities, before going on to help develop solutions to the issues in phase two.
Although the proposed solutions will depend on the outcome of the data and intelligence gathering phase, the project team anticipate identifying Roma community champions to work in those parts of the region with the highest concentrations of Roma people – Fenland, Great Yarmouth, Ipswich, Luton, Peterborough and Southend.

Roma cultural competence training will also be developed and rolled out, and workshops held to bring Roma people together with frontline services.

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