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Bi-lingual Advocate Service for Ballymena

Published: Wed, 30 Sep 2015
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John Read, our Good Relations Officer, interpreter Olga Kascak and Ivy Goddard, Project Director of the Ballymena Inter-Ethnic Forum
Ballymena Inter-ethnic Forum
We have invested in a year-long bi-lingual advocacy project in Ballymena in partnership with Ballymena Inter-Ethnic Forum.
At the heart of our work is ensuring everyone in our community has access to the support they need to make a home.
The bi-lingual advocacy service at our offices in Ballymena will see interpreters deliver a weekly housing clinic on Fridays. The initiative’s central aim is to provide a more equitable service to those living in Ballymena for whom English is not the first language.
The project also aims to help people settle into an area, increase integration and act as a channel for anyone experiencing hate crime to report it.
The three main languages represented are Polish, Slovakian and Romanian with other languages brought on board as and when required. Those using the service will benefit from support with completing forms, liaison with other agencies, tenancy agreement and anti-social behaviour reports.
Ivy Goddard MBE, Project Director of Ballymena Inter-Ethnic Forum said:
“This important project will provide much needed interpreters and I am delighted we are working in partnership with the Housing Executive.
“This personalised customer service in our community provides a more welcoming message and we would like to thank the Housing Executive for backing this initiative.”
Jennifer Hawthorne, our Head of Cohesion explained:
“We strive to make Northern Ireland welcoming to all. By providing this additional support to those making the Ballymena area their home we are helping to promote integration and ease settling in.
“This initiative is an excellent opportunity to help foster good relations, overcome language hurdles and break down cultural barriers. I commend everyone involved to getting this project to launch and look forward to seeing the service develop over the next year. ”
The Friday clinics will be hosted at our office in Twickenham House, Mount Street, Ballymena, BT43 6BP.