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Saturday, 5 February 2011

St Chads Sanctuary Birmingham with Iain Duncan Smith MP.

Today Minister for Work and Pensions arrived for a visit to Birmingham. It was the opportunity to highlight the work done by dedicated volunteers assisting refugees and asylum seekers to maintain service provision and share their community building experiences.

I attended the visit to inform the Minister of the work undertaken by the West Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership Regional Women Issues Group. How the group strategically works to coordinate the service provision for refugees, asylum seekers and new migrant women ensuring balance of needs are sustained and developed to ensure measures are monitored for their safety, care and well being without inequalities. 

Despite lean spending and funds scarce, I hoped the community and voluntary sector would be supported with further opportunities and empower citizens on new social action projects to actively get them involved locally. This would build their confidence and skill base, community cohesion and integration in a safe environment.

How much can we do to ensure the Big Society is not lost in mere words? Firstly we must unite and understand the needs of these communities and the imminent support required to them with the very basic necessities, care understanding and advice. Volunteers attend for a few hours a day to help them, from a hundred members of the vulnerable groups in a week arrive come at the door in this part of the city.

Conservative activists were also present with the Minister campaigning his welfare reform agenda and impact to innovative social action projects. The communities that impact working with the most vulnerable in society had a detailed discussion with the Minister on the Sanctuary work, the level of groups that attended were provided food, clothing and hygiene products. 

Where possible basic education lessons were also taught to new arrivals by the Salvation Army. Sister Margaret gave a  tour on the facilities and home services available. 

I sincerely hope communities will recognise the volunteering importance and fully support the Big Society vision. They desperately need help, we firstly must empower the needy to become active accountable citizens. Citizenship empowerment comes with mutual respect to enable these communities to locally improve their lives; for their families from encountering destitute will this Big Society work for all.


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