Grant to help people settle into new life in Thetford

An information and support service to help migrants settle into their new way of life has been awarded a government grant of �60,000.

Mobile Europeans Taking Action (Meta), run by the Keystone Trust in Thetford, will use the funding to extend the service ,which has seen more than 10,000 people through its doors in the past nine years.

The funding, awarded by the Cabinet Office for Civil Services, will be used to recruit a new team leader, enable staff to take qualifications and work towards an accreditation in immigration advice, and to extend opening hours.

Organisers also hope to encourage partner agencies to share the building in a bid to extend available advice even further.

Currently the service offers support in English, Portuguese, Polish, Lithuanian and Russian on a variety of topics including how to register with a GP, how to get help and advice in the UK, reading and writing letters and filling in forms, amongst others.

Assistant director at Keystone, Robyn Challis, said: “We will develop it into a service more like the Citizens’ Advice Bureau but our clients will be from the migrant community. We will be offering a better quality service to the public which will be more accessible.”

Meta began in 2003 with a Home Office grant of about �200,000 and funding has fluctuated since then.

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Chief executive of Keystone, Neil Stott, said Meta was a “valuable” service.

He added: “What we’re doing is trying to help people settle in and deal with issues before they get thermo-nuclear. “With the best will in the world we all hit snags and we’re trying to help people get past those snags.”