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Grant helps charity to promote community integration

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Communities and also in Housing

Grant helps charity to settle refugees in North East Grant helps charity to settle refugees in North East

A charity that helps African asylum seekers and refugees to settle and integrate into the North East of England has been given a £15,400 grant.

African Community Advice North East (ACANE) will use the funds from the Byker Community Trust (BCT) to help with the running of its centre on the Byker Wall Estate and to purchase new computer equipment.

It will mean the charity can continue to offer a meeting place for the community, providing advice and support, as well as resources for those who are looking for employment or training.

“The funding from the BCT will not only help with the running costs of our centre, it has also allowed us to purchase new equipment that will benefit hundreds of local people, not just the African community,” said Gaby Kitoko, Development Manager at ACANE.

Gaby added: “The centre is such an important resource for Byker, especially for young people, and we encourage as many Byker residents as possible to come along and take advantage of the facilities.”

The funding has been awarded from the BCT’s £1 million community participatory budget programme, which offers local people and community groups the opportunity to bid for funding to support projects that will benefit the Byker Estate and its residents.

“ACANE was initially set up to support African refugees and asylum seekers coming into Newcastle, and that remains its core mission, but it has now become a support for the whole of the Byker community,” said Jill Haley, chief executive of the BCT. “This is exactly the sort of project that the CPB was set up to support and I know that the ACANE team are making a real difference with the investment they’re received.”

Established in 2000 in response to the government’s decision to disperse asylum seekers to different regions of the UK, ACANE has remained true to its original aims, while also helping newcomers from Africa to become an integral part of the Byker community.

People from all races and backgrounds now see the ACANE centre as a place to socialise, seek advice and access the internet. Regular events are also held, open to the whole community.

Gaby and his co-worker, Joe Kamanga, both came to the UK as refugees themselves, so are aware of the challenges faced by people arriving from Africa and the communities where they come to live.

As well as the open centre the ACANE team also offer an after-school youth club, one-to-one information sessions, translation services and support with job searches.

The BCT manages 1,800 properties in Newcastle.

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