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SOS Polonia celebrates £230,000 lottery grant
6:00am Sunday 22nd September 2013 in News
IT’S full steam ahead for a help and advice service for migrants in Hampshire after it received a £230,000 lottery grant.
SOS Polonia which is based in Terminus Terrace in Southampton said the money would help break down language barriers, improve health and combat unscrupulous bosses and landlords.
This latest windfall for the group comes after the Polish government granted it more than £26,000 in June.
Founder Barbara Storey said the grant, from Big Lottery Reaching Communities, would mean the service was now self sufficient.
She said: “We have already made an action plan for the next few weeks and we are getting ready to put the key in the ignition.
“We have four ways to spend the money, the first is for teaching English for employment and the second is for teaching healthier lifestyles and so reducing the costs to the NHS.
“The third is safety. We are going to teach them to be better safe than sorry and to be careful not to fall into traps, cons and exploitation.
“The fourth is teaching them about the fantastic benefits of being bi-lingual.”
Mrs Storey, originally from Poland herself, said she set up the group in the wake of the massive influx of Polish migrants into the city after 2004 when the UK jobs market was opened to the Eastern European country.
By 2011 the group had developed into a model for others, something that was recognised when they were awarded the best Polish Expats Organisation of the Year 2011 by the Polish Ambassador.
Southampton’s growing Polish population now stands at about 25,000.
But Mrs Storey said SOS Polonia has now expanded its work to help other migrant groups from Eastern Europe.
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