Somali taskforce marks milestones

somaliTaskforceA working party specially set up to address some of the challenges facing Somali residents in Tower Hamlets, will mark its successful milestones this week.

Established by Mayor John Biggs, the Somali Taskforce found that residents of Somali origin were more likely to suffer from economic inequality due to factors such as language barriers.

The task force came up with recommendations to help build the community’s capacity, including projects to help create new employment opportunities; improved targeted provision of English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL); supporting Somali based community organisations to access resources, advice and support and developing a dedicated community space for cultural and community activities.

At an anniversary celebration on 1 February, the taskforce will highlight how targeted support has improved the experiences of one of the Borough’s Somali communities who have a rich history in Tower Hamlets.

The taskforce has:

  • Registered more than 150 individuals for employment information, advice and guidance
  • Hosted an employment and training fair with WorkPath, the council’s partnership employment programme.
  • Supported individuals into securing employment and enterprise training
  • Commissioned a history project, which has captured some of the experiences of Somali migration and settlement in the community through film, photography and digital mapping
  • Created opportunities for Somali residents to train as market traders
  • Increased participation in English for Speakers of Other Languages courses
  • Introduced Somali language support in the council’s housing service
  • Created links between community organisations and Somali residents and Increased participation in activities for older people
  • Delivered targeted social care information and advice to Somali residents

Mayor John Biggs said: “Tower Hamlets is home to a vibrant and well-established Somali community.  Our goals and ambitions in setting up the Tower Hamlets Somali Taskforce were clear from the start. We wanted to remove barriers, help Somali residents overcome some of the challenges they often face in accessing services and give members of the community opportunities to prosper and succeed.

We know there is still more to be done, however many success stories are now emerging as a result of the extra steps we have taken to engage with and invest in the community and this is worth celebrating.”

somaliTaskforceJobsTrainingThe taskforce will also demonstrate how the council and partner organisations have equipped the Somali community with skills, confidence and connectivity to overcome obstacles and reach their potential.

Cllr Amina Ali, chair of the Somali Taskforce said: “I am proud we are tackling the challenges of the Somali community head on through the innovative Somali Task Force as a Mayoral priority. A marginalised community is now being given opportunities to reach their potential and prosper as part of our diverse, multicultural Tower Hamlets community. This is a Taskforce for Somali people, led by Somali people. ”

Hanna, a volunteer with the history project said: “The Somali community has an incredible story and presence in London.”

“I hope the legacy of our project will be to showcase the lives of Somalis who live here and the incredible things we have been through in terms of what we have overcome to create successful lives.”

 This is the Somali Task Force’s report

Posted on Thursday 1st February 2018