Scarborough Council grants funding extension for eastern European community integration

A project dedicated to supporting eastern European residents in Scarborough borough is set to continue until the end of 2023 after an extension of funding was approved.

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 1:06 pm
Some of the families which have been helped by the 'Pomoc' scheme in Scarborough. (Photo: North Yorkshire County Council)

‘Pomoc’ was set up as a pilot in July 2020 to ensure the migrant community had free access to public and voluntary sector services they are entitled to.

Many eastern Europeans had previously paid unnecessarily to access these services due to language barriers, lack of knowledge or understanding of how ‘systems’ work.

Cllr Liz Colling, Scarborough Borough Council cabinet member for inclusive growth, said: "I am very proud of the inclusive approach Pomoc has worked hard to promote during the pilot.

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Eastern European families in Scarborough have previously found it difficult to access basic services. (Photo: North Yorkshire County Council)

"There is still lots to do to encourage them to fully integrate with local community life and ensure they are able to access the range of public services available to other residents in the borough."

Since the pilot began, 260 Romanian, Polish and Latvian residents have been helped with information, advice and signposting to the services they need to enable them to settle and begin to integrate in the borough. This includes securing settled or pre-settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme.

Pomoc has also played an important role during the coronavirus pandemic, sharing translated information about what to do during the different stages of restrictions and the importance of testing and vaccination.

Three community groups (Romanian, Polish and Latvian) were initially established through engagement work with schools and parents.

On Tuesday, Scarborough Council’s cabinet approved an additional £35,000 of funding to help Pomoc operate for another two years from January 2022, with the pilot otherwise concluding at the end of this year.

North Yorkshire County Council and North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group also funded the pilot and plan to extend their financial commitments by £35,000 and £10,000 respectively.

The cabinet heard that for every £1 invested in the scheme, the council receives £19.31 in ‘social value’, or the reduction in cost to services including reduced doctors’ visits, fewer hospital visits, less involvement of the police and less enforcement action due to not understanding rules and regulations.

Approximately 10 per cent of the urban population of Scarborough come from eastern European countries, but, the council heard, many could not access basic services despite making a "significant economic contribution".

Cllr David Chance, North Yorkshire County Council executive member for stronger communities, said: "We are very happy to work with our borough council colleagues on this excellent initiative to help eastern European residents to integrate into the borough’s communities."