Leeds recognised with high-profile award for innovative work to support refugees and migrants

Leeds, Leeds Star

An innovative Leeds City Council project providing a wide range of support to refugees and migrants has been recognised with a prestigious European award.

In claiming the EuroCities’ ‘Participation’ Award and beating off a high standard of competition from cities across Europe, the Leeds Migrant Access Project (MAP) was acclaimed for its work in empowering migrant communities to support themselves, harnessing their skills, knowledge and commitment.

Representing 130 cities across Europe, judges of the Eurocities network which aims to improve people’s quality of life by sharing knowledge and good practice, reserved special praise for how the city has worked with refugees and partners to promote community cohesion.

Developed in partnership with the council’s commissioning team, Touchstone Community Development Service and Feel Good Factor, MAP provides a living human map which provides refugees and migrants with up-to-date information on how to find out more about services that are available in their communities. MAP ensures this is able to happen by providing trained people from migrant communities, who speak English as well as a range of community languages, to lead on this work. This not only benefits refugees and migrants, but also helps services provide effective support and reduces the number of people going to the wrong service or not getting any support at all. MAP provides an opportunity to talk to those affected, learn what they need and develop community led solutions.

In submitting their nomination for the ‘Participation’ Awards, the council were asked to submit a short video of their work. To view the video which sees refugees and migrants from Leeds’ groups, such as The Syrian Kitchen talk positively of local integration, learning new skills, becoming self-sustaining and supporting others throughout the community, please see: bit.ly/leedsmapfilm

Following news of the award, the leader of Leeds City Council, Cllr Judith Blake reserved special praise for the council’s commissioning team, partners and volunteers who had contributed to making the MAP project such a success in the city.

The leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake, said:

“We are extremely proud and honoured to win this EuroCities’ ‘Participation’ Award, which recognises the outstanding work that is being undertaken in Leeds through our MAP project to provide a wealth of vital support and information to refugees and migrants.

“MAP is a great example of the type of innovative work which is being taken by the council in a range of different services and fields. I would personally like to thank all the partners in the city for their tremendous vision and creativity in putting together this project, but mostly to thank the volunteers from these communities who put so much effort into supporting each other and making Leeds such a great city to live in. I am sure the MAP project will be looked at closely now by many other cities in Europe through the winning of this award.”

Notes to editors:

Leeds won the Eurocities Participation award – this was awarded to a project that empowers local communities to support newcomers, by equipping them with the knowledge to advise others on issues such as healthcare, education and employment opportunities.

Further information on Leeds MAP can be seen at bit.ly/leedsmapblog. Details on Leeds’ Eurocities nomination can be seen at: bit.ly/leedsmapeurocities-Or Contact Pria Bhabra at: pria.bhabra@leeds.gov.uk