Recently I’ve been considering just how different some cultures actually are – if we want to move house, job, location etc, we will consider and reconsider and weigh up the options and try to have everything in place before we would make the decision. For many of our European migrants, life in many ways is so much simpler – they hear of a job in another part of the country, and they pack their bags and go the same day!
Since we started back in January we have all noticed a definite change in the number and frequency of our Slovakian service users. It’s not that we have none, and indeed there are days when we still have the large family outings to The Well. (6 people to come with the one person needing help!)
Some of regulars have ‘disappeared’, and recently when I was talking to Josef* about this, I said “If you are going to leave Glasgow, come and say goodbye – don’t just vanish!” He assured me he wasn’t going anywhere, he works here and he now views Glasgow as his home:)
Interesting many say “David Cameron doesn’t want us here . . . ” (It’s also worth noting that recent research shows that more Britons abroad are claiming benefit that EU migrants are claiming in the UK. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jan/19/-sp-thousands-britons-claim-benefits-eu?CMP=fb_gu)
The interesting mix of people continues – Pakistani Portuguese, Egyptian Dutch, Indian German, Nigerian Irish etc. Last week I was discussing this with Ahmed* – one of our service users -and he told me that so many still come, as friends who are here paint a picture of “streets paved with gold.” So they will give up jobs and everything in the European Country move here, and quickly discover that life here is exceptionally difficult and expensive, and that the 3000 Euros they brought, very quickly disappears, and the promised jobs prove to be very illusive.
I believe The Well is ideally placed to build bridges between the different cultures which is essential for the good of Govanhill. Slowly slowly we are seeing people beginning to engage with each other in the reception area, or at least not being resentful! Our English Classes both men’s and women’s have got very mixed cultural groupings, both Bubbles and the Craft group gives women of various backgrounds the opportunity to get to know each other, and exciting new venture which started last week, I’ll let Penny tell you about it . . . .
We are grateful for the partnership of Tackling Poverty Together and Govanhill Free Church in this new venture.”