Plan to break down Boston’s language barriers

Coun Paul Kenny and Coun Mike Gilbert at the launch of the 2012 immigration report
Coun Paul Kenny and Coun Mike Gilbert at the launch of the 2012 immigration report

The importance of breaking down language barriers was discussed at a meeting to look at issues raised in the borough council’s immigration report.

The ‘social impact of population change’ in Boston Task and Finish Group met on Thursday to hear evidence of progress from organisations involved with migrant workers.

These included the East Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership (EMSMP).

In his role as chairman of EMSMP, Coun Paul Kenny spoke of the need for a better scheme to encourage migrants to learn English.

“It’s been apparent over the last 18 months that trying to get more eastern Europeans to learn English is becoming a major issue,” he said.

“When you talk to Boston College we know it’s an issue there. Within the Salvation Army it becomes a big problem where people don’t know how to communicate.”

He said scouting groups in Boston have been asked to encourage migrants to get involved to help ‘reduce some of the tensions’.

“We don’t think Boston is isolated in some of these issues, but as one of the smallest authorities you have one of the highest percentages in these issues. Boston is on the national agenda.”

Coun Kenny said the partnership would try to get the government’s business secretary Vince Cable to support a language learning scheme in the East Midlands, adding: “I think Boston is an ideal area where this could be piloted nationally.”

He added: “What we are trying to do is to make sure that the East Midlands is heard and that communities like Boston’s are not isolated.”

Referring to the need for people living here to learn some English, Coun Gleeson added: “If you are going to partake in the benefits of that community, you have got an obligation to.”