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19 Mar 2020 : Runcorn Linnets support A Better Tomorrow

An organisation supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Halton has been presented with a set of football kit by Runcorn Linnets.

A Better Tomorrow is a new not-for-profit project formed to work with the increasing number of migrants housed in the borough.

Its aim is to help not only disenfranchised families but also longer-term residents, who need assistance to integrate fully into the local community.

Paul Kenna, a regular supporter at Linnets games, had approached the club with a view to obtaining some old kit for charity.

Paul belongs to St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP), a lay organisation attached to the Catholic Church which supports the poor.

He said: "When the club kindly donated the kit to SVP, we originally intended to send it on to our contacts in India, however, the cost was too high.

"Eventually I spoke to PC Ian Hampson of Cheshire Police, and he introduced me to Ashraf (Hamido), the chairman of A Better Tomorrow who were very happy to receive the kit."

Linnets handed over the matchworn old blue and white change kit at a recent home game and the club intends to extend its support for the project.

Club chairman, Mike Bignall said: "It was great to be able to assist Paul, one of our loyal fans, with his charitable work and through his efforts help A Better Tomorrow with this very valuable and worthwhile project. We hope to be able to continue our involvement with the group in the future."

A Better Tomorrow works with partners including Cheshire police, health providers, the council and local housing providers to address some of the challenges faced by refugees and asylum seekers, who have settled in the area.

Cheshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, David Keane recently awarded a 5,000 grant from his Safer Communities Fund to support the group to deliver culture awareness sessions and integrate asylum seekers into the community.

PCC Keane said at the time: "The challenges faced by the multi-ethnic community are in addition to the complex challenges faced in Halton in relation to deprivation, health inequality, employment and education.

"Residents who have recently settled in the area need our support. Without it they can easily fall into hardship not just socially but financially too, with a risk of becoming involved with loan sharks or criminal activity. They may also suffer from isolation or exclusion which can lead to mental health issues.

"I hope this project makes a real difference to the lives of migrants in Halton and helps them build a positive future in their new home."

Ashraf Hamido, chair of A Better Tomorrow said on accepting the grant: "Migrants often struggle to access services including employment, education and health.

"Day-to-day tasks such as food shopping or using public transport can also often feel almost insurmountable in respect of language barriers and facing this on a daily basis has a significant effect on mental and physical health.

"This project brings together a number of partners to ensure migrants are given the right support from the right agencies as the come to settle in the area. The funding provided by PCC David Keane will enable us to ensure integration into the community is as smooth as possible."

The PCC grant was awarded by the commissioner in partnership with Halton Clinic Commissioning Group (CCG) through their Well Halton project.

Chris Carlin, a commissioner at Halton CCG and project manager of Well Halton, said: "Well Halton is excited to be able to partner with the police and crime commissioner - together we can tackle the wider determinates of health.

"We are particularly proud to be able to support A Better Tomorrow. Refugees face many challenges such as language, culture and local systems. A Better Tomorrow is a fantastic example of the role that peer support can play. This service will be a key partner to many agencies and will help newcomers to navigate the system and stay well."

Pictured: Linnets chairman Mike Bignall, left, and supporter Paul Kenna, right, with members of A Better Tomorrow.

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