London's Green MEP, Jean Lambert boosted the London Borough of Hackney today as she launched an exciting new dimension to the Back to Earth Project at Hackney City Farm.
The new volunteer programme encourages asylum seekers in the area to learn English and get involved with the local community, helping residents to become greener and more sustainable.
Speaking at the launch Jean, who was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights at the end of last year, spoke of the vital skills asylum seekers can bring to the local community. Jean said; "Asylum seekers are forced to leave their home and flee to foreign lands for a number of reasons. When they arrive in new countries they can face a real culture shock in a new community.
"Those seeking asylum in the UK are keen to positively contribute to our society and do bring with them many skills. The Back to Earth Project will really help asylum seekers integrate with their new communities and apply their expertise to meaningful activities. By taking part in the programme and completing sociable activities such as gardening, farm maintenance and ecological construction they will learn new life and language skills that can be transferred into society either here or in their home country."
The ESOL & Community Volunteer programme is part of a wider project at Hackney City Farm that aims to promote local green issues and sustainability. It is designed to help refugees, asylum seekers, young people who are excluded from education and local volunteers. The project is funded by the Big Lottery, Jack Petchy Foundation, Tudor Trust, Refugee Council and Shoreditch Trust.
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Notes to editors:
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.