Town hall to review language translation services in barrier busting bid
PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 November 2020
The town hall is to review how much translated material it produces for people whose first language is not English.
Newham Council’s pledge is among plans to improve links between different communities which were approved by cabinet chiefs on Tuesday, November 3.
Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, said: “A lack of English language proficiency presents major barriers to social integration.
“The recent response to tackling the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need for language translation support to be more available across the borough.
“We are reviewing this as a priority as it has been identified as a major barrier to encouraging participation and inclusion in community life.”
Cabinet members agreed to “explore” extra support for community language translation for people living in Newham and community groups at the meeting on Tuesday.
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Newham identifies itself as the most diverse borough in the country, with 48 per cent of the population born outside the UK, compared to 36pc for London as a whole.
Office for National Statistics 2011 census data shows 22pc and 12pc of people in Newham identified south Asian and European languages as their mother tongues respectively.
Cllr Rohit Dasgupta, commisioner for social integration and equalities, said: “Social inclusion is quite important in the context of Newham which is one of the most diverse boroughs in this country.”
Newham’s pledge forms part of the town hall’s social integration strategy which aims to create a “fair and inclusive borough”, bringing people together so they do more than just rub along.
Ms Fiaz, said: “Amidst the enormous challenge of Covid-19 we have seen the emergence of something of real value – with people coming together in ways that too many may have felt almost impossible beforehand.
“So many residents have stepped forward to offer support to their communities, to help protect the most vulnerable from the virus, and to help save lives.”
She added the outpouring of goodwill showed it is possible to support one another and bring about lasting, positive changes in communities and lives.
To help achieve its aims the local authority plans to strengthen voluntary, community and faith groups.
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