PORTSMOUTH is leading the way for other European cities with a project to help migrants integrate into communities.
Through the Gateway Project, which is run by Portsmouth City Council, migrants have been helped to adjust to their new life in the city.
Yesterday, a conference was held in the city to demonstrate what the project is with the aim of other countries in the EU doing the same thing.
It is the third of six meetings which are being held throughout Europe.
Michelle Burbury is the placement manager for Independent Business Development (IBD), which helped organise the conference.
She said: ‘We are here to discuss immigration and integration of immigrants who have come to the UK.
‘The Gateway Project itself has actually been such an integral part of integrating different immigrants into society within the Portsmouth area.
‘That information is really valuable and I believe that this will then be taken back to the individual countries to help with processing that through education.
‘It’s gone very well. We have had such positive feedback from the different countries but also from the participants who were invited to speak about their experiences.’
Representatives from France, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Portugal were invited to the conference at the Holiday Inn in Old Portsmouth.
Liva Snike is the marketing and liason manager for IBD. She said: ‘The main point is to talk about the different education and training schemes and projects that have been done in order to promote citizenship.’
Marshada Chowdhury is the co-ordinator of the Gateway Project. She said: ‘When I found out about this, it was really interesting for me because I have worked in the community with migrants.
‘We develop a programme for migrants in Portsmouth looking at breaking down barriers with health, education and employment.
‘We have had a very successful project that has had an impact on migrant communities. Through the research we found that the impact has empowered women. It’s helping them find solutions to tackle issues.’
Dianna Djokey, 23, moved to the UK several years ago from California. She was helped through the project and now helps out in the community.
She said: ‘Now, I help with different public services. I help people with their transition to integrate into the community.’