Although there are more than 2.3 million non-British EU citizens living, studying and working in the UK, very little accurate demographic information exists about this important segment of the population. With debates about the impact of migration dominating mainstream media and public discourse, it is often hard to separate fact from fiction.
New Europeans together with CSV are delivering Community Voices, a European Commission funded initiative that seeks to explore the impact of European migrants on communities across the UK, and to promote dialogue between community actors and EU migrants.
Community Voices comprises a programme of six seminars in six local communities designed to examine the impact of European migrants on local services and develop a report on that impact, offering a space for discussion between community actors and EU migrants in the process.
Delivered in the context of the Active Communities for Europe (A.C.E.) project, the first seminar was held in Edinburgh on Tuesday 3 February, on a cold frosty evening at the John McIntyre Conference Centre. Nearly 40 individuals from colleges, health and housing services, almost half of whom were themselves New Europeans, came together to look at the impact of European migrants on services.
The three plenary speakers, Dr Michael Rosie, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, Dr Daniela Sime from the School of Social Work & Social Policy at Strathclyde University and John Busby, Project Organiser from the Welcoming Association, gave informative and thought provoking presentations.
The group then divided into three roundtables to examine more closely the experience of local people with reference to health, education and housing services.
The groups used mind maps to record all the inputs, which will be logged along with the responses from the subsequent seminars in Lincoln, Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff and London to form part of the report to be launched in June.
Registration is now open for the next Community Voices seminar in Lincoln, 17 February, 14:00-17:00. REGISTER NOW