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Reading Borough Council Pledges Money to Support Nepalese Community

Reading Borough Council has pledged to direct £45,000 worth of funding towards supporting the town’s growing Nepalese Community.

Many British ex-Gurkhas and their families choose to settle in the UK, and Reading – along with Aldershot and Farnborough – is believed to be one of the UK’s focal points for Nepalese migration. With the ex-Gurkha community successfully acquiring British settlement rights in a high profile campaign, there is expected to be an increase in the number of ex-Gurkhas and their families settling in the UK, and in Reading itself.

Following detailed discussions, the Borough Council and Nepalese Community Leaders in Reading are both keen to work closely together to ensure newcomers to the town are fully integrated, become socially and economically active and that they are able to understand life in the UK.

Reading Borough Council has therefore proposed £45,000 towards three linked projects which together will help to establish a community-led system of support for individuals recently arrived in the UK, and which will eventually help the Nepalese Community to help themselves.

Under the proposal, £25,000 would be passed to the Reading & District Citizens Advice Bureau to provide a series of information sessions in East Reading for Nepalese migrants. Individual advice appointments could be made where necessary and advice materials would be provided in Nepali.

The same pot of money will help fund a Community Advisors training programme, open to young members of the Nepalese Community aged 18 to 30, so that in the future the community can provide help and advice to newcomers themselves. A ‘community coaching’ programme would also be set up aimed at supporting and empowering Nepalese women who would then become community coaches in their own right.

A total of £16,100 will be directed towards Reading Voluntary Action to create the new post of Development Worker for the Nepalese Community. The worker will ensure community members are accessing services and help already available to them and also provide help with things like form filling and taking on an advocacy role with individuals where necessary.

The proposal is also for £3,900 to go directly to the Greater Reading Nepalese Community Association (GRNCA) to rent office space which will enable them establish a local base in East Reading. This could then used by the development worker and local volunteers to provide a focal point for the community, and to access the services they need and to provide a small meeting place.

Jeanette Skeats, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Communities, Voluntary Sector and Enterprise, said: ‘I am delighted that at a time when budgets are under considerable pressure, we are able to extend this key financial support to the Nepalese community here in Reading. The money will provide the necessary kick-start to help the community train up volunteers from within the Nepalese community, who will then be able to carry out this vital support work themselves in future years.’

Krishna Neupane, Vice-Chair of the GRNCA, said: ‘The number of Nepalese citizens living in the Reading area has reached close to five thousand recently. This number is made up of diverse cultural groups, including ex-Gurkhas and their dependants, highly skilled migrants and students. Integrating such a diverse group has been a big challenge which the Greater Nepalese Community Association has had many meetings about with Reading Borough Council officers and councillors.

‘On behalf of the GRNCA I would therefore like to extend our sincere gratitude to the Council for which will be a big help in achieving our aims. I would also like to appeal to all GRNCA members to work together to take part in the training and workshop sessions and to help establish GRNCA as a recognised local charity in Reading area delivering a maximum quality services to its members.’

Gyanraj Rai, spokesman for the Ex-Gurkhas in Reading, added: ‘The retired Gurkhas are very happy that Reading Borough Council has seen fit to find money to assist settling in Reading. The way the money is divided will allow the provision of a focal point for ex-Gurkhas, many who don’t have much English, to get advice where they have no experience of the protocol expected.’

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February 14, 2011 - Posted by | Local

7 Comments »

  1. I don’t care who pays for the growing Nepalese Community – we owe it to them as a country and should pay them back ‘as a country’ with a decent pension etc.

    Making Aldershot or Reading or any one authority stump up the dosh is unfair but we’ve never exactly been good ‘as a country’ to those who have fought, died and suffered for us.

    Comment by Gideon Mack | February 15, 2011 | Reply

  2. And boy will it grow when the elders start requesting visas to bring their grown up children and their families over to look after them as carers. Government recruited them government voted them their right to settle here does government want to contribute to their settlement here? No leave that to the ratepayers to pick up the tab with an already reduced grant. As for all this patronage that we owe them, no we dont, no one made them sign on, anymore than our own brave lads that do the same thing, its a volunteer army you take the money as a soldier and take the chance you may be killed. Sad but part of a soldiers job is to face death in times of war. The Nepalese joined up for the pay and pension that would make them well off on their return to Nepal.
    Sadly for Nepal that was not enough for these latest immigrants.

    Comment by mai kide | February 15, 2011 | Reply

  3. That really is great news. I am really pleased that the council has been able to provide funding for the Nepalese community.

    Many of my friends have visited Nepal and they have all said what wonderful people they met whilst there.

    Ed

    Comment by Ed | February 15, 2011 | Reply

  4. mai kide

    I think your comments are a tad harsh. You say “our own brave lads” so you’re appreciative of the bravery of all soldiers – why should the Nepalese get any lesser deal?

    Comment by Gideon Mack | February 16, 2011 | Reply

  5. For the record, Reading Community Welfare Rights Unit has already done a lot of work for the local Gurkha community dealing with their more complex benefits, debt, and housing issues. The highly skilled advisors at the Unit remain happy to continue to help.

    (in my capacity as Chair of Trustees of the Unit)

    Comment by Christine | February 18, 2011 | Reply

  6. This is excellent and just shows what rubbish RCRE are talking when they claim that cutting their grant is racist.

    Comment by Doodlebug | February 24, 2011 | Reply

  7. http://www.myukinfo.com offers information about living and working in the UK in Nepalese

    Comment by Andrew Saunders | April 18, 2011 | Reply


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