Welcome to Tower Hamlets project helps migrants to reach their full potential

Mayor Biggs and Viscount Younger meet residents at St Hildas East Centre

Mayor Biggs and Viscount Younger meet residents at St Hilda's East Centre

We have been working with local migrant residents and community organisations to launch a Welcome to Tower Hamlets guide, to help new migrants learn English and get guidance to accessing services and finding their way around the borough.

The guide was officially launched on Monday 4 November at St Hilda’s East Community Centre and guest speakers included John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets and Viscount Younger of Leckie, Minister for faith and communities.

The event featured positive first-hand accounts from residents who migrated to Tower Hamlets in recent years. They described how the support they received to learn English and take part in volunteering opportunities led to them gaining the confidence and skills to secure jobs.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “The East End has been welcoming migrants from across the world for hundreds of years. It’s a story which has involved thousands of families down the generations, including my own.

“The Welcome to Tower Hamlets project has given our migrant residents the practical support and encouragement they need to make a success of their new lives in our great borough.”    

The wider Welcome to Tower Hamlets project was established in October 2017 and supported with £530,800 from the government’s Controlling Migration Fund.

In the borough, it has been delivered with local partners St. Hilda’s East Community Centre, University College London (UCL), the Bromley by Bow Centre, account 3 and the community group East London Advanced Technology Training (ELATT).

The four main themes associated with the wider project are:

  • Working with migrant residents and local community organisations to create the practical Welcome to Tower Hamlets guide.
  • Providing local English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) and conversation classes to improve skills and access to jobs.
  • Volunteering opportunities to help migrants to improve their language, future job prospects and to contribute to their local communities.
  • A research project led by UCL academics looking at the issues faced by the local migrant population.

More than 300 migrants have been supported through ESOL classes and volunteering opportunities. 250 migrants took part in creating the Welcome to Tower Hamlets guide and 21 local migrants have gained the language and other skills to achieve a good job.

The Welcome to Tower Hamlets guide is being distributed to Idea stores, libraries and with local organisations that support migrant residents. It is also available on the council’s website. Online visitors can also view a special animation that has been created to show residents how they can play an active role in decision making in the borough.

Posted on Thursday 7th November 2019