March 22, 2011

Funding blow for Stoke-on-Trent community project

A community project aimed at uniting people from different backgrounds across Stoke-on-Trent could be axed because of a lack of funding.

The One World Project educates young people against the prejudices associated with asylum seekers and refugees. It was set up by Stoke-on-Trent’s Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) following racist incidents in schools. But the Migration Impact Fund which covers its costs has now been scrapped, leaving the future of the initiative in doubt.

Charlotte Laws, Children’s Cohesion Worker at Stoke-on-Trent Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB), said: “With the BNP on our local councils and even boards of school governors and the EDL gaining momentum throughout the area, the loss of this project can only lead to a return to a culture of fear of and antagonism towards these groups of people.”

Chou-Chou, a refugee from Africa, visited Silverdale Community Primary School in Newcastle-under-Lyme this month and shared his story with the children.

Deputy headteacher of Silverdale Community Primary School, Mrs Blaney told Staffslive: “It was really useful because it enabled our children to meet someone who had suffered from war and fled their country to escape persecution. After hearing his story the children can form their own opinions instead of listening to the news or reading newspapers.”

The One World Project was given an Award for Bridging Cultures (ABC) from the Institute of Community Cohesion.

Ms Laws said: “We create a way in which young people can encounter asylum seekers and refugees and hear their experiences in the hope that the stereotype associated with them can be changed. Telling others their stories is more valued than what people read or hear in the media.”

Now it’s in jeopardy after the Conservatives scrapped the Migration Impact Fund which provided the scheme’s funding. They are set to visit five more local schools by the end of the month thanks to temporary funding from Newcastle Partnership.

Ms Laws is hoping to restart the project at the beginning of next year as a standalone not for profit venture.

Staffs Live

Thanks to NewsHound for the heads-up

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