October 19, 2016
Rich diversity in Govanhill
With a population of around 15,000, the Govanhill community is both one of the most disadvantaged and ethnically diverse populations in the country – at the last count there were 53 distinct languages spoken across its schools. So it’s no surprise that local anchor organisation, Govanhill Community Development Trust, is delivering a range of services that are as diverse as its population. The Trust has just been awarded nearly half a million pounds by the Lottery to fund its work with Roma and Slovakian families.
Roma residents in Govanhill are to share in a funding pot of nearly £500,000 to help tackle poverty.
The Big Lottery Fund Scotland has made an award of £478,565 to Govanhill Community Development Trust (GCDT) to help Roma and Slovakian communities in the area.
Funds will pay for family support programmes, literacy classes and integration projects.
Lyn Ewing, chairwoman of Govanhill Community Development Trust, said: “This award is enormously welcome and will be a huge boost for Govanhill.
“The funding secured will improve English and literacy skills across the whole community as well as helping local people to volunteer and get more involved in community life.
“We are also delighted that it secures the Trust’s Roma family support work, enabling us to tackle the deep poverty and improve the lives and employment opportunities of many within the local Romanian and Slovakian community.”
The money is part of the Lottery’s five year £250 million funding scheme, designed to support people and communities to overcome challenging circumstances.
GCDT, part of Govanhill Housing Association, runs a family support programme in Govanhill where staff provide one-to-one support and advice for Roma families and individuals.
It aims to help improve life chances through education, employment, health, housing and developing social connections.
Govanhill’s ESOL Cafe, told about in the Evening Times last year, will also be funded by the cash boost.
Literacy schemes teach English language and literacy skills in group classes and individual sessions.
These include the ESOL Cafe, which is held weekly in the Daisy Street Church building of Queen’s Park Govanhill Parish Church.
It has brought together around 100 adults and 40 children of 20 nationalities since it restarted in April following a pilot in 2015.
A cross-party group of MSPs praised the project in the Scottish Parliament earlier this year.
A volunteering programme brings volunteers and local organisations together.
Support is provided both to local residents interested in volunteering and organisations looking for volunteers.
Big Lottery cash will also support the Roma Peer Education project, which restarted last month to raise awareness of local health issues and provision.
It involves training around 10 Slovakian and Roma residents about rights and entitlements and local health issues.
Participants then deliver sessions to the wider Roma community in Romani, Slovakian and Romanian to share what they have learned.
GCDT staff also have plans for a buddying scheme that would link up new arrivals to Govanhill with residents who have been in the community for some time.
Trips and visits to key community facilities are held on a regular basis to help individuals and families learn about local services.
Other regular local events include awareness-raising sessions about local services in schools and community litter picking events.
Maureen McGinn, Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chairwoman, said: “This funding aims to support communities across Scotland to improve the places they live and the wellbeing of people facing challenging circumstances.
“In the Scottish Borders and Glasgow, these two fantastic projects will contribute to positive change by giving people who feel isolated the opportunity to make new friendships and create new community connections.
“We will continue to work with communities and organisations to support activity which is people centred, strength based and has good local connections.”