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NEW FUNDING FOR REFUGEES TO BECOME ACTIVE CITIZENS

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More than 40 local initiatives to help people given refugee status to ...
More than 40 local initiatives to help people given refugee status to

integrate, work and participate in UK society will receive government

assistance of nearly £2m, the Home Office announced today.

The projects, which range from a programme helping female refugees in

London to move into training, education and work to a Glasgow-based

initiative linking up refugees with English tutors, have received

grants totaling £1,899,666 from the Home Office Challenge Fund.

The Fund was introduced in 2001 to support local projects helping

those who have been granted asylum in the UK, having fled

persecution, to integrate into their new communities. Projects

supporting asylum seekers are not eligible for funding. Initially a

three-year scheme, the Home Office also announced today that it plans

to continue the Challenge Fund for the foreseeable future.

Home Office minister, Beverley Hughes, said: 'The government has made

clear its commitment to support genuine refugees and help them build

a new life in the UK. These are people who have been forced to flee

persecution in their home countries and it is in all our interests to

help them integrate, work and contribute to our communities.

'This year we are putting nearly £2m into a range of innovative local

schemes - both new and existing projects - to help refugees play a

full and active role in their new communities. The initiatives we are

funding will help achieve that by giving refugees the opportunity to

learn new skills, speak English and access the job market.

'For three years the Home Office Challenge Fund has supported refugee

projects across the UK and, as a measure of its success, I am pleased

to announce that this Fund will continue in future years.

'The government's work in this area is part of a balanced immigration

strategy - tackling abuse of the asylum system by those not in need

of protection, opening up managed economic migration ro utes and

better integrating those with the right to settle here.'

Ivelina Metchkarova-Taylor, who runs an initiative for refugees in

Yorkshire and Humberside, which has received renewed Challenge

funding, said: 'The Home Office Challenge Funding has enabled the

Yorkshire & Humberside Consortium to develop an innovative citizenship

project. We provide a course for new refugees in the region, helping

them to integrate and contribute to the community. Our students want

to learn about culture and traditions, understand how things work in

the UK and give something back to the community.'

Notes:

1. The Home Office Challenge Fund was set up by the Home Office in

2001 as part of our work to develop an effective refugee integration

strategy. It was initially introduced as a three year scheme to

support local projects helping refugees to integrate into their new

communities.

2. Projects applying must show that their proposal is targeted at

people with full refugee status or those given protection on

humanitarian grounds, and that it supports the aims of the Home

Office's refugee integration strategy - that is to:

- include refugees as equal members of society;

- help refugees develop their potential and contribute to the

cultural and economic life of the country;

- set out a clear framework to support the integration process across

the UK; and

- facilitate access to the support necessary for the integration of

refugees nationally and regionally.

In addition, applicants have to demonstrate cost-effectiveness,

appropriate experience, expertise and reliability, and willingness to

cooperate with evaluation.

3. This year's Challenge Fund grants have now been allocated to 43

local projects and the Home Office is not accepting further

applications.

By-election results November 2003

Council Ward Result Majority Turnout %

6 November 2003

Aylesbury Vale DCQuarrendon LD held 16.6 over Con 21.4

Conwy Eirias Ind gain from Con28.0 over Con 30.0

Cornwall CC Porthleven Ind held 58.4 over Con 17.1

North Norfolk DCHappisburgh LD held 24.3 over Con 51.9

Runnymede DCEnglefield Green EastCon held 60.9 over Lab 10.8

13 November 2003

Craven DC Bentham Ind gain from LD12.7 over Con 29.6

Havant DC Waterloo Con held 41.3 over LD 22.3

Tewkesbury DC Brockworth Brock rg held 5.7 over Lab 31.3

20 November 2003

Birmingham MBCStockland Green Lab held 19.3 over LD 18.1

Nottingham City Council Sherwood Lab gain from Con15.4 over Con18.1

Oldham MBC Failsworth East Lab held 50.1 over BNP 37.1

Surrey CC Stanwell Lab held 0.6 over Con 22.5

27 November 2003

Derbyshire Dales DCMatlock All Saints LD held8.0 over Con29.0

Macclesfield DCMacclesfield HurdsfieldLD held30.7 over Con24.7

Maidstone DCMarden & YaldingCon held13.1 over LD24.4

Devon CCIlfracombeLD gain from Con3.6 over Con23.6

Oadby & Wigston DCWigston MeadowcourtCon held3.3 over LD32.7

Oxfordshire CCWolvercoteLD held2.1 over Green31.9

Rotherham MBCHerringthorpeLab held52.8 over LD14.8

Welwyn Hatfield DCHatfield NorthCon held3.9 over Lab23.8

Welwyn Hatfield DCSherrardsCon held11.2 over Lab34.6

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